Why You Shouldn’t Share Your Opinions About Politics on LinkedIn

Photo credit: DonkeyHotey on Flickr.com.

When talking about politics, Americans are more divided than ever. Whether this is part of the plan or a product of the year we are living in is open to discussion.

What we can say, though, is that no matter where you fall on the political spectrum or what your political beliefs are, you have opinions that you want to share.

And, social media has given you many outlets to let the world know just what you think.

If you share your thoughts about the current presidential election or even some of the races further down the ticket on Facebook and Twitter, you might get into a fight with a friend or even choose to sever a connection with an acquaintance.

But, if you post you political beliefs on LinkedIn, it could cost your company business or even result in the loss of your job.

While you might think that I’m being an alarmist, you might change your mind after reading the rest of this post.

What Makes LinkedIn Unique

With more than 690 million active users, LinkedIn is a very valuable resource for your career and your business.

In fact, according to LinkedIn, “4+ million members were hired through LinkedIn in fiscal year 2019.”

HubSpot posted an article that has some additional statistics that make the case for using LinkedIn to promote yourself and the company that you work for.

As I pointed out in a post in 2016, business executives and thought leaders should have robust profiles on LinkedIn.

Furthermore, to be truly successful at using LinkedIn in your marketing efforts, you must actively engage with your current and potential customers on a regular basis on the site.

However, there are also things that you should avoid doing if you don’t want to lose a potential sale or even your job.

This would include sharing your opinions about politics on LinkedIn. That is, unless you are in the business of politics.

Americans Are More Divided Than Ever

Now that we know a little more about LinkedIn, let me explain why it’s not a good idea to share your political beliefs on this particular social networking site.

As a post on the FiveThirtyEight website points out, “To anyone following American politics, it’s not exactly news that Democrats and Republicans don’t like each other.”

“This is hardly a new trend; in fact, it’s increasingly common among American voters,” the author of the FiveThirtyEight article continues. “However, this level of hatred – which political scientists call “negative partisanship” – has reached levels that are not just bad for democracy, but are potentially destructive.”

The article points out that the animosity for the opposition has increased in recent years.

Note: Reprinted from “How Hatred Came To Dominate American Politics”, by Drutman, L. 2020, October 5.

“Forty years ago, when asked to rate how “favorable and warm” their opinion of each party was, the average Democrat and Republican said they felt OK-ish about the opposite party,” the author of the article writes. “But for four decades now, partisans have increasingly turned against each other in an escalating cycle of dislike and distrust – views of the other party are currently at an all-time low.”

The article goes on to give some possible explanations for this divide. For the purpose of this post, I just wanted to illustrate the trend. If you are interested in a further explanation, I’d suggest reading the article in its entirety.

What Some of Your Coworkers (and Possibly Your Clients) Think

We now have established that Americans are so politically divided that it is safe to say that they don’t like the opposite party.

This animosity towards the other party has gotten so bad that according to a recent article published on the CATO Institute website, “Nearly a quarter (22%) of Americans would support firing a business executive who personally donates to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign. Even more, 31% support firing a business executive who donates to Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.”

That’s right, some of your coworkers would want business executives to get fired for making a political contribution! If they say that they want executives to get fired, does the same hold true for their lower-level coworkers? Who knows?

Chances are good that there would be some friction in the office if some of your coworkers found out that you donated to a candidate who holds the opposite political beliefs than them.

It is therefore not surprising that according to the same article, “Nearly a third (32%) of employed Americans say they personally are worried about missing out on career opportunities or losing their job if their political opinions became known.”

This percentage is relatively the same no matter where a person falls on the political spectrum.

There are some differences based on demographic groups that are covered in the article. Again, I’d suggest reading it if you are interested.

The key takeaway is that it is probably a good idea to keep your political beliefs to yourself when having conversations with coworkers or business clients.

LinkedIn Is Your Professional Profile

This brings us back to LinkedIn.

With all that has been covered in this post, It’s safe to say that it’s not a good idea to share your political beliefs on LinkedIn for the same reasons it’s not a good idea to talk politics with coworkers and clients at work.

Remember, LinkedIn is your professional profile. In fact, in many cases clients may see you as a representative of the company that you work for.

And, given the fact that many potential B2B customers do online research before talking to a salesperson, businesses could be losing sales just because an employee is sharing political posts on LinkedIn.

Furthermore, if you are currently looking for work, your political posts on LinkedIn could be hindering your job search, as well.

I do want to clarify that I am not suggesting completely censoring yourself when it comes to politics. In fact, I think that we are currently facing one of the most important elections in recent history. Therefore, remaining silent during this election season doesn’t seem like a good option.

What I am saying, though, is that it probably isn’t a good idea to share your political views on LinkedIn. Instead, I’d suggest heading over to Facebook or Twitter if you want to discuss politics and keep LinkedIn the place where you share posts about your career and your business.

Chad Thiele

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at: chadjthiele@gmail.com.