Phil Friedman

7 years ago · 4 min. reading time · ~10 ·

Phil blog
Lessons Learned From Publishing in the Shadow of the LinkedIn Algorithm

Lessons Learned From Publishing in the Shadow of the LinkedIn Algorithm

Lessons Learned From Publishing in the Shadow of the LinkedIn Algorithm


Preface: This piece is written not as a self-indulgent stroll down memory lane, but because I believe it chronicles one independent writer's experience publishing on LinkedIn. And from which experience I believe beBee management can draw some meaningful lessons and, thereby, be forewarned and better prepared to avoid the pitfalls that are now plaguing LI's publishing platform.  Hopefully, beBee CEO Javier Cámara Rica and Executive Chairman Juan Imaz will take this in the spirit of friendship and support in which it is offered. 

In April, 2014, I was one of 25,000 independent writers and bloggers invited by LinkedIn to begin publishing on their newly launched "long-post" platform. By that time, I had been a LinkedIn member for about two years, and had spent my share of time running a group, posting business-related updates, commenting, and discussing issues with fellow professionals in my field of specialization.

At the time, I had been for more than two decades a marine industry consultant, specializing in yacht construction project development and management, and shipyard operations and business management. I was also a professional writer and editor with more than 800 magazine articles published in just about every national and international yachting magazine then still in print. I tell you this so that you will understand that I was not a starry-eyed kid, salivating over the thought that I would get my name in print.

Anyway, I jumped at the chance, because I had been beating my head against the publishing wall putting out pieces on my own website and blog...

Lessons Learned From Publishing in the Shadow of the LinkedIn Algorithm
With not much to show for it.

There was so much competing noise on the Internet, and I understood so little about search engines and SEO, that the number of hits, let along reads of my posts, was barely more than miniscule. So, when LinkedIn invited me to actually publish what I saw as "feature articles" on their platform, I responded positively.

For a while, things went very well, from my point of view. My articles were being read and commented on by hundreds, and sometimes thousands of readers, at a level I had not enjoyed since the four plus years I had spent as Senior Editor of an international yachting magazine.

Unfortunately, the joy in Mudville did not last long. By August of 2014, the LinkedIn general feed was being clogged by all manner of what I came to call Insipidipity  a seemingly endless stream of trite memes, vapid "inspirational" slogans, mangled aphorisms, badly written and vacuous blogs, poorly reasoned discussion posts, and intellectually gratuitous, self-promotional comments. And the natives were getting restless.

There was a lot of agonizing about the almighty Algorithm... and calls for more direct editor involvement...

The anticipation among my fellow writers and self-publishers on the platform seemed to be that increased live editor involvement would lead to a filtering and improvement in the overall quality of the content in the LI general feed. Which content was by them coming to be seen as the same kind of "noise" so prevalent on the Internet in general.

Truth be told, I think many of those who were calling for increased direct involvement of live editors thought that they each respectively and exclusively could curry favor with such live editors and, in doing so, could gain an advantage over competing writers and self-publishers.

Most of these writers and self-publishers had no professional writing or editing background...

Since most of them had always self-published on Internet blog sites, they had never faced editorial review and judgment, which I knewand still knowis naturally always biased and the expression of personal tastes and prejudices, however nominally professional and objective.

Consequently, I wrote and published a piece that warned my fellow writers and self-publishers on LinkedIn to be very careful about what they wished for. The piece was titled,

"A Writer's Commune with the Oracle: Publishing in the Shadow of the LinkedIn Algorithm"

In it, I argue that whether we liked the results of applying the Algorithm or not, it was better to avoid increased involvement of live editors in the process, for that could only lead to a deterioration in the equity of the situation. I also argued that the best we writers could hope for was a refinement of the Algorithm to filter out the insipid noise that was drowning out potentially better content, and to be treated fairly by LinkedIn going forward in meeting its commitment to distribute each author's work to his or her connections and followers as promised.

If you would care to read that article, you can by clicking on the link above...

I hope that you do. And I hope that Javier and Juan do, as well. Because I sincerely believe it foreshadowed the eventual spoiling of a forum that originally had the potential to become the world's premiere digital self-publishing platform. Of course, although the piece garnered more than 2,000 views and generated very strong engagement, it was roundly ignored by the LI Pulse editors who went along their merry way mucking about with the way in which posts were distributed —  or not —  and with what was and was not featured and exposed to the ever growing LinkedIn readership.

We all know what the results were, and why so many dedicated writers and publishers on LinkedIn have moved over to beBee, WordPress, Blogger, and other self-publishing platforms. And I seriously hope that beBee does not go down the same road that LinkedIn did.  — Phil Friedman

Author's Notes: If you found this article and the one at the link given above interesting, you may want to take a look at my other pieces about the LinkedIn experience:

"Arrogant Control Is Not Leadership ... On Social Media or Anywhere Else"

"View Count on Pulse Posts Headed to Oblivion"

"Take Your Algorithm and Shove It!"

If you'd  like to receive notifications of my writings on a regular basis, click the [FOLLOW] button on my beBee profile.
As a writer-friend of mine says, you can always change your mind later.

Feel free to "like" and "share" this post and my other LinkedIn articles — whether on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. I ask only that you credit me properly as the author, and include a live link to the original work.

About me, Phil Friedman:  With 30 some years background in the marine industry, I've worn numerous hats — as a yacht designer, boatbuilder, marine operations and business manager, marine industry consultant, marine marketing and communications specialist, yachting magazine writer and editor, yacht surveyor, and marine industry educator. I am also trained and experienced in interest-based negotiation and mediation. In a previous life, I taught logic and philosophy at university.

Lessons Learned From Publishing in the Shadow of the LinkedIn Algorithm
The (optional-to-read) pitch: As a professional writer, editor, university educator, and speaker, with more than 1,000 print and digital publications, I've recently launched an online program for enhancing your expository writing: learn2engage — With Confidence. My mission is to help writers and would-be writers improve the clarity of their thought and writing, master the logic of discussion, and deal confidently with disagreement.

To schedule an appointment for a free 1/2-hour consult email:

Text Copyright 2016 by Phil Friedman — All Rights Reserved
 Images Credits:  the Author and

Lessons Learned From Publishing in the Shadow of the LinkedIn Algorithm


Phil Friedman

7 years ago #21

@ Brigette Hyacinth - not necessarily writing just for yourself, but certainly not growing your readership the way you could, or with the support LinkedIn promised when they first invited 25,000 independent writers to "publish on LinkedIn." Thank you for reading and commenting, and for speaking out with candor. There are quite a few LI apologists running around these days toadying up and thinking by doing so, they can gain some sort of advantage. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #20

D#26 Hey John White, MBA, always good to hear from you. I've sent you a link to a comical incident on LinkedIn, in which Albert Gibel has tried to get an answer from LinkedIn about what appears to be inequities in promoting posts by LI staffers. He's been shuffled through FOUR customer service and customer experience people. Classic runaround, with only insulting questions and absolutely stupid answers. It's absolutely comical. See

John White, MBA

7 years ago #19

,#24 Phil Friedman, or any of the amazing writers in our community if I hadn't invested in LinkedIn. Heck, beBee found me on LinkedIn. Thanks for writing this, Phil!

John White, MBA

7 years ago #18

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #17

@ John White, MBA - we should never forget though that LI did do something of enduring value -- by bringing together groups of writers from all around the world in a spirit of camaraderie that is truly striking. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #16

@ Milos Djukic - if you demand meaningfulness in exchange, you must look elsewhere than in conversation with with representatives of LinkedIn. For their goal is to "manage" the conversation by moving their lips -- without actually saying anything. They also speak in ways designed to hide their forked tongues. :-)

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #15

Amen. Keep the (writers') faith, Lada Prkic, CEng, and always #LETTHEAUDIENCEDECIDE.

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #14

After... Phil Phil Friedman. This sentence is a real little masterpiece of meaninglessness. I love it!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #13

Milos Djukic, do you know if that was before or after Mr. Weiner became an Oprah groupie:?

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #12

Yes, it was very nice Phil Friedman. “There is no company in the world that is better positioned to help individuals, the people they care about, the people that work for them, to navigate these increasingly uncertain economic times,” - Jeff Weiner, CEO Linkedin :)

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #11

Yes, Milos Djukic, I've often been told that socially I lead with my chin. :-) Cheers and a good weekend to you. I miss the Friday night punning free for alls that we used to have with many others in Writers 4 Writers on LinkedIn.

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #10

Thank you Phil Friedman, you are a social leader.

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

7 years ago #9

Bold, explicit exposure that deserves to be read, applied to be mire safe and successful ahead.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #8

Thank you, Laurent BOSCHERINI, I'll deal with you later... after your experimental data is in and reported! :-) Cheers, my friend!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #7

Thank you, Javier C\u00e1mara Rica for providing a platform on which I can grow as a writer and build a personal readership. And, of course, for the round of beers you're going to buy next time you're in Miami and South Florida. Best of luck in your endeavors and... cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #6

@Pamela Williams - thank you for reading and commenting. I hardly consider myself a "super blogger", but I thank you for the kind words anyway. My frustration with LinkedIn boils down to something very simple: LI promised to help me build my own audience. I put in the work and I built an audience. Now they've gone back on their word, and prevent my work from being distributed to my self-elected followers (audience). That is the source of my frustration. Javier Javier C\u00e1mara Rica has committed to always distribute my work to my followers. That is fair. And that is really all I ask for. Enable me to benefit from my work in building a personal readership. Done. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #5

Dean Owen, viral means different things to different people. For example, some writers who regularly collect views in only double digits consider hitting several hundred as "going viral". Whereas I've don't believe any of my posts have gone viral, even though a significant proportion hit extend into 4 digits and several have broken through the 10K level. I personally am not interested in "virality", but only virility. For viral posts usually get to be so because of a social media phenomenon which leads readers to like and share simply because they want to push the stats up, that is, they want to participate in driving the views up into the hundreds of thousands, or even millions. But the irony is that virtually none of those hundreds of thousands of readers pays any attention to, or takes the time to read or comment on the post itself. Which is why you will find that the engagement metrics for viral posts are abysmal. In any event, my opinion, for what it is worth, is that virality, not virility, should be left to the Gods of the Internet, for otherwise we will be left worshipping craven idols. Cheers!
An excellent share, Phil Friedman. Thank you. Sharing.

Laurent Boscherini

7 years ago #3

Thank you Phil Friedman for sharing your excellent and wise approach, so solid as backed.

Dean Owen

7 years ago #2

We should call you the Oracle of Pulse! Quick question - Whilst I do like the democratic nature of beBee, currently there is no apparent way for an article to go viral. Top posts can attain 10,000 views quite easily and most would be more than happy with that. But perhaps there should be the possibility and attainable hope that one of your posts could go viral (into the 100,000 views). How would you suggest doing this on beBee? I guess the most democratic and impartial way would be to feature articles based on the engagement rate (Views/Comments & Shares). An alternative would be to grant users control over their Producer feed. Javier briefly mentioned some upcoming changes, and I am convinced they have our best interests at heart. Just wondering what your solution would be. Thanks Phil Friedman.

Javier 🐝 CR

7 years ago #1

Thanks Phil Friedman for sharing it !!

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