David Heinemeier Hansson

October 19, 2022


I must be the latest of the late-late adopters to LinkedIn. I somehow managed to go almost twenty years without an account on the assumption that this was just a nerdy, straight-laced edition of Facebook. And I stopped using that in 2011, so why would I bother with the lame business version? But it turns out I was wrong even though I was right. Lemme explain.

LinkedIn is a nerdy, straight-laced, and often lame version of Facebook. But somehow that has gone from cringe to cherished over the last decade or so. During the same time in which Twitter went from the cool, interesting place to the veritable trash fire it is today. The restraint that people show in their virtual khakis and button-downs on a business network is apparently exactly the antidote we need in 2022 to stay even remotely within the boundaries of respectable exchanges online.

I've even managed to find a relatively reliable source of interesting stuff popping up in the feed, in between the endless self-congratulating echoes of who got what new job, closed what new investment, or beat this quarters quotas. It's actually, and I can't believe I'm writing that word as a term of endearment, PROFESSIONAL.

It's a place where people are inclined to bring their work self to the conversation. A place almost entirely free of the endless, droning moral grandstanding that has taken over Twitter. Fewer single-track fanatics going on and on and on about whatever political cause they've invested their entire identity into. It's oddly liberating.

Even if it's "fake". Fake in the sense that folks who present themselves as calm, collected professionals on LinkedIn may very well also be the unhinged moralists chasing the latest cancel campaign on Twitter. It just doesn't matter if you don't have to know!

This is the tragic loss we suffered once the wall between the personal and the professional melted away on Twitter (and, to a lesser extent, Facebook). The entirety of someone's personality and predilections were suddenly thrust upon you, whether you wanted to know or not. And mostly, I can assuredly say, you did not!

I mean, the irony is not lost on me here. That after a solid decade duking it out on Twitter in plenty campaigns that had more than a pale moral hue to them, I would celebrate the compartmentalization of someone's public persona. But here we are, it's 2022 baby, and many of our brightest dreams have turned into our darkest nightmares.

If we absolutely must use the internet to "connect", then I welcome a throttled connection. One deliberately curated to appeal to all future colleagues and, crucially, hiring managers! The business casual of connections. Rather than the full-bandwidth bananas bonkers nonsense of Your Whole Self.

Anyway. I'm on LinkedIn now. And I post the part of this feed that would suit a business casual audience. You won't be reading my thoughts on Andrew Tate there. But maybe that's a feature not a bug in your book! In that case, you can follow along.

About David Heinemeier Hansson

Made Basecamp and HEY for the underdogs as co-owner and CTO of 37signals. Created Ruby on Rails. Wrote REWORK, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, and REMOTE. Won at Le Mans as a racing driver. Fought the big tech monopolies as an antitrust advocate. Invested in Danish startups.