When I hear conservatives griping about their posts being eliminated from Facebook for not being politically correct. My sympathy is usually low enough that I worry a gust of air could blow the flame out entirely.
Well, last week I had a piece spiked by LinkedIn.
Got an email from them with the subject line, “A problem with your post.”
That’s all it said. Kind of scary, at first. Like all professional raconteurs (and isn’t that pretty much all of us these days?), I pretty much need LinkedIn to operate.
Also, Kafka-esque. I had been accused and convicted of “bullying and harassment,” though I had awakened that morning intending no such thing!
What on earth had I said?
Except, you know what? I actually had an inkling.
Could it have been that nasty little line in that day’s post about Bill Gates, where I referred to him and other tech CEOs as “spectrum dwellers”?
That’s all I could think of. But I could think of that.
A minute’s detective work revealed that, sure enough: An Australian friend read my piece and agreed with it wholeheartedly. But a friend of his read it and felt otherwise, writing: “There were probably some good points in here. Shame they were all obscured by the use of language like ‘spectrum dwellers’ and so on.” This man’s title? Senior intelligence analyst at the National Disability Insurance Agency.
As Gary Larson once had one dog say to the other in a Far Side cartoon as they puzzled over some missing bones, “It doesn’t take Lassie to figure out what happened here.”
Is it sinister that a complaint by a single obscure bureaucrat in an unknown organization half a world away can file a complaint that results in a writer being accused by a career-crucial communication platform of “bullying and harassment”?
Yes, that is sinister.
Did I sort of have it coming, for taking that shitty little snickering swipe?
Yes, I sort of did. “Yeah, that was low,” my sister said.
And LinkedIn didn’t ban me for life or even threaten that they would. They just hauled down my post, and encouraged me to knock it off.
Which I did, even eliminating the “spectrum-dwelling” reference from the original post.
But I’m not sure how to feel about it at this point. A couple months ago I wrote in favor of “Black LinkedIn,” where people are expressing more candid truths in more colorful ways. In that context, I said I like thought LinkedIn has elements of good global conversation that don’t exist elsewhere in social media: “Social accountability, as LinkedIn profiles can’t be anonymous, and the people you’re debating with are the people whose respect you probably need to maintain if you’re going to have a good career.”
I guess I would have appreciated that senior intelligence analyst just leaving his comment and shaming me in front of my colleagues for my pricky little remark—and let them decide whether it was bullying and harassment or something more or something less. Instead of reporting me to LinkedIn.
But there will always be bitchasses in the world.
But what about LinkedIn?
Look, I understand the mad, dangerous viciousness that Twitter and Facebook have to regulate.
But beyond extreme cases of derangement, can’t LinkedIn rely on professionals to govern one another and themselves, if only out of pure self interest?