Phil Friedman

8 years ago · 5 min. reading time · ~10 ·

Phil blog
Time to Break All Connections... On Social Media

Time to Break All Connections... On Social Media

Time to Break All Connections... On Social Media


I don't pretend to be an Information Technology Expert, or even a Social Media Whiz. I've barely figured out Twitter and Facebook, rarely use Pinterest, and have never even looked at Snapchat. I do, however, publish and engage regularly on LinkedIn, Medium, and of late, beBee. And I am in my core business pretty much a Power User of word processing, publishing, spreadsheet, and CAD software.

I've been writing and publishing on the Internet on my own websites and those of others for more than twenty years now, and on social media including LinkedIn, Medium, Blogger, WordPress, and beBee for at least a decade.

So, while I'm far from ever being considered a Techie Guru, I'm also not exactly a Digital Virgin...

Presently, I have a growing unease about the developing tendency of some social media platforms to use the very volume of postings that they handle as a rationale for seeking to exercise a form of mind control. Saying that because the volume of postings and notices is so great, they "have to" throttle or choke down such interchange, so that platform members aren't completely inundated with such material.

Never mind that the "connecting" or "friending" that occasions the flow of information, useful or otherwise, are the result of voluntary actions taken by the recipients in every case. In other words, the people with whom the platform claims to be concerned and whom it claims to be protecting asked to receive that flow of information. The social media platform knows better what they really want to see.  LinkedIn is a prime example of this form of mind control...

The claimed motivation for over-riding the expressed desires of members is, to my mind, pure poppy-cock...

Time to Break All Connections... On Social Media
As I see it, their underlying goal is to control the marketing image of the platform, by controlling who sees what. In turn, this enables management to determine how the platform is represented by the content mix, which is projected as trending and popular.

In the case of, for example, LinkedIn, the company is invested a lot of its perceived reputation in an image as a trend-setting, Influencer-driven environment, in which trend setting Influencers lead the rank and file to the slaughter... er, I mean, marketplace.

Actively shaping the buying interests, desires, and tastes, indeed, potentially their very buying decisions.

Today, be told what to read on social mediatomorrow be told where and how to spend your money...

Time to Break All Connections... On Social Media
So, by now you're asking what the hell all this has to do with connections. And you're thinking maybe Grumpy has finally lost some of his marbles.

So let's get back to the core topic. It all starts with the nature of connections They are two way streets, or perhaps better described as super-highways. Posts and updates and other forms of exchange flows both ways.

If you have a large number of connections, the amount of inbound traffic can be staggering. When I do remember to check my Facebook page, I am always blown away by the sheer number of updates, posts, memes, and other detritus that is deposited there daily, if not hourly. And I don't even have that many fiendson
Facebook, that is. On LinkedIn, the situation is some different, although similar in many important respects.

The central point to understand about connections on LinkedIn is that, just as often as not, they are initiated by someone who doesn't want you to send him or her anything, but rather wants to send you something...

Like a sales pitch, or a request for an introduction to a third party, or an invitation to attend a seminar, or to convert you to a recruitment client, or... Well, I'm sure you get the point.

Consequently, these people, who want to send plenty, but not receive anything, except perhaps a signed order, get really bent out of shape as the traffic starts piling up at their end, from the tens of thousands of people they've connected to in the course of their outbound marketing efforts.

So they start complaining to the powers that be, asking for them to filter that inbound traffic. And the powers that be are all to happy to use that as cover for moving to control and manipulate traffic in both directions, in the service of molding your intellectual horizon according to the image of what they predetermine they want it to be.

Can you spell "mind control" ?

Time to Break All Connections... On Social Media
For that's what it is, notwithstanding the ugliness of the phrase. And all the protestations about it being the Algorithm's fault is just a pile of bull chips.

And finally we come to the nitty gritty. In order to forestall the drift toward mind control, we need to eliminate the excuse that is being used by some social media platform management as cover in their efforts to achieve such control.

Namely, we have to find a solution to runaway traffic coming into people's feeds, but without succumbing to the argument that it requires arbitrarily over-riding the expressed wishes of many individuals as to whose posts and notifications they want to receive. The answer is surprisingly straightforward...

Eliminate all connections on social media...

Instead, use only one-way "following" relationships. If A wants to receive B's posts and updates, A elects to "follow" B. That way B is never asked by A or someone else to "connect" and, in doing so, ends up receiving posts, updates, or internal emails that B doesn't want to receive from A. In short, B doesn't have to participate in the decision by A to follow B, unless for some reason B really doesn't want A to read any of B's "stuff".

If both A and B want to establish a two-way relationship, A elects to follow B, and B independently elects to follow A. Done.Finis.

This way, nobody is receiving the updates, posts, and other communications of another person, which he or she has not specifically and voluntarily elected to receive.

The excuse for social media management to manipulate what members see and don't see goes away, because everybody is seeing only what they specifically asked to see. And if someone no longer wants to see someone else's "stuff", they can "un-follow" that person, without he or she even being notified, because the person they followed had no part in their decision to follow him or her in the first place.

If the excuse for tampering with what people see and don't see on the social media platform goes away, so do all the disguised attempts at mind control...

Whether breaking all connections on social media will ultimately solve all of the social problems connected to social media is, at best, doubtful. However, eliminating "connecting" as the primary form of relationship on the platforms that now have it or some equivalent, is a logical and necessary first step.Phil Friedman

Author's notes:  I don't write much about social media, except for the occasional piece about the failings of some of the platforms, in particular LinkedIn. And the occasional article on the psycho-sociological issues surrounding the presence of social media in contemporary society. If you found this post of interest, you may want to look at some others of mind:

"Arrogant Control Is Not Leadership on Social Media, or Anywhere Else"

"Take Your Algorithm and Shove It !"

"View Counts on Pulse Posts Headed to Oblivion"

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+, provided only that you credit me properly as the author, and include a live link to my original post.

About me, Phil Friedman:  With 30 some years background in the marine industry, I've worn numerous hats — as a yacht designer, boat builder, 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.

Time to Break All Connections... On Social Media
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, master the logic of discussion, and strengthen their ability to 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:  Phil Friedman, and Google Images

Time to Break All Connections... On Social Media


Phil Friedman

7 years ago #32

thank you for taking the time. My best to you.

Louise Smith

7 years ago #31

Yes I did get that and I totally agree with your idea. Maybe it's someone who knows someone's job to manage that info. I really detest the platform deciding what I want to see ! As an aside, I was just commenting on engagement and quality of comments on beBee.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #30

Louis, thank you for reading and commenting. However, my point in this piece is not about "engagement" or quality of comments, it's about how LinkedIn used the burdens that 2-way connections placed on the system by sending all forms of notifications to people who did not really want them. My point is that if you eliminate 2-way connections and simply have one-way following, then the issue disappears, since when you follow someone, you do so precisely because you want to receive notifications of what they are publishing. Of course, even with one-way following, two people can mutually follow one another and achieve the same effect as 2-way connecting. Cheers!

Louise Smith

7 years ago #29

I haven't written a lot of posts but on LI my best was 51 views and 41 likes on the same post! While on beBee, I usually get around 100 views for most posts. I'm not counting the You Tube music videos on Music/Musica and Best Music Tracks Ever. Undoubtably it's content driven plus a little humour and a throw off at technology with the very basic rendition BUT Best yet in just 4 days For Your EYES only beBee !!! 3.2K views 45 likes 19 comments 12 shares and it's a picture ! Also in just 13 hours For Your 2 EYES only beBee !!! It takes 2 to TANGO ! beBeez DANCE ! +700K views 11 likes - comments 4 shares and it's a picture ! HOWEVER overall I don't care about the numbers I care about the quality of the interaction AND on beBee it can be 1 person or 3.2 K people, it doesn't matter to me Because YOU Write quality comments !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANKYOU Louise

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #28

Yes I am Louise Smith :)

Louise Smith

7 years ago #27

That's so funny Milos ! You are so subversive !

Phil Friedman

8 years ago #26

Yes, Renato Vitolo - that is precisely the idea. If you want to follow someone, that means you want to receive posts and other communications from them. However, you do not have to accept someone's post and sometimes spam communications in order to have them elect to follow you. Everything is simplified. Cheers!

Jim Murray

8 years ago #25

Good stuff Amigo. The dead will rise and stagger around the earth hungry for human brains.

Jim Murray

8 years ago #24

Good stuff Amigo. The dead will rise and talk the earth hungry for human brains.

Phil Friedman

8 years ago #23

@Renato Vitolo - thank you for reading and commenting. Please understand that I am not really suggesting giving up all you connected contacts. I am only suggesting that all relationships on social media be structured as "following". Following does not open you up to receiving material you have not elected to receive. When you follow somebody, I assume you've looked at some of their "stuff" and have decided that you would like to read more. If two people want to interact, each can follow the other. Very simple and clean -- and what is done on Twitter already, and which works well. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

8 years ago #22

Aurorasa Sima - thank you for reading and commenting. I tend to think that LI is worse than Facebook in terms of its propensity to manipulate and control. Maybe I'm wrong, because although I hav a FB page, I don't pay alot of attention there. For me the issue is whether the platform give you the ability to make you own decisions as to what you want, and don't want to see, and of course the freedom to do so. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

8 years ago #21

Larry Boyer, thank you for reading and commenting in detail. Your recounting is extremely interesting and useful, and your point about organic networking being more durable is spot on. Personally, I don't believe that LI has had that many complaints from members about getting too may posts in their respective feeds. What I think is happening is the LI gets complaints from people who can find the things they want to see and read, because the feed is so jammed. LI just uses the unspecified complaints as an excuse or rationale for exercising its obvious bent for control and manimpulation... and to support its Influencer program, which is to all observation failing badly. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

8 years ago #20

@Paul Kemner - One of the really serious problems at LinkedIn is what appears to be a low level of genuine intelligence, coupled with a high level of an accentuated sense of self-importance in the lower and middle ranks. This leads to inconsistent and outright stupid decisions that, in many cases, may not actually be the implementation of executive policy. Which does not excuse the uneven and arbitrary actions one encounters if one runs afoul of the LinkedIn apparatchiks. If there is a deep rooted problem with the corporate culture, that is ultimately Jeff Weiner's fault. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

8 years ago #19

Thank you, Renato Vitolo, for reading and commenting, and for the kind words. For me as well, the name of the game is having the tools to custom tailor my own feed, and see what I want to see, read what I want to read, and filter out those things that would just waste my time.#LETTHEAUDIENCEDECIDE.

Milos Djukic

8 years ago #18

There's more to corporate branding than just pompous promises, aggressive influencer marketing and skilfully devised slogans.

Lisa Gallagher

8 years ago #17

Milos Djukic, spot on article by Lolly Daskal. So, of course, it was nothing personal... Does Linkedin even care if they have others who utilize complex thinking skills, it seems not. If Linkedin continues down this path, they are headed in the same direction as Myspace. Good luck to top management with their Corporate model.

Milos Djukic

8 years ago #16

They were wrong. Everything in social network is personal

Milos Djukic

8 years ago #15

"Nothing Personal It’s Strictly Business" by Lolly Daskal at

Milos Djukic

8 years ago #14

Lisa Gallagher, It happened half a year ago. There's nothing personal, Critical thinking includes a complex combination of skills, which are not so popular on LinkedIn. They want single-mindedness. This is a corporate model that has been adopted by top management.

Lisa Gallagher

8 years ago #13

What happens if you are banned Milos Djukic, are you even able to log in? They are turning into the Rupert Murdoch's of society. Fox News in Disguise.

Milos Djukic

8 years ago #12

Paul Kemner, I was also banned from LI for one day for no obvious reason.

Lisa Gallagher

8 years ago #11

@paul kemmer, Oh how dare you share facts on an influencer's post Wow, I had no idea Linkedin did such things. I love how you put it @Milos Djukic "I do not like social media, but I like the people in social media." Me too! I have met many wonderful people thanks to Social Media. Unless someone is threatening me in a serious manner I prefer to be my own Police Girl. We are all adults and blocking a person is very easy if they are a major nuisance for some reason. In all my years using Social Media- almost 15 years... I bet I've only blocked 5 people for very good reason. Thanks for this @Phil Friedman!

Lisa Gallagher

8 years ago #10

@paul kemmer, Oh how dare you share facts on an influencer's post Wow, I had no idea Linkedin did such things. I love how you put it Milos Djukic!

Lisa Gallagher

8 years ago #9

Javier C\u00e1mara Rica is a fast moving worker bee, he is Johnny on the spot! Thanks Federico! Your very helpful.

Milos Djukic

8 years ago #8

That is why I said: "I do not like social media, but I like people in social media." Thanks Phil Friedman. I'm still fascinated that people are not aware about the amount of manipulations on social media. It has become a doctrine for messing around with people in a highly sophisticated way. Everything is cleverly hidden from the public and skillfully packaged into false "customer care" program. Actually it is a scam that is used for big profits only. LinkedIn, for example.

Larry Boyer

8 years ago #7

When I first started using social media the first one I became active on was Ecademy (since sold and now Sunzu). It was a UK based platform. It was the era before algorithms and showing only a portion of what someone was sharing. When I first joined I must say the stream was pretty confusing, compared to some others. But I just kept paying attention and starting conversations with others. They had 3 levels of membership, a free version and 2 paid versions. I eventually joined the highest paid membership level. But all along the way I made some of the best online friends, many who I still have probably 20 year later now. Maybe our "smart" technology is robbing us of the experiences of free flowing information. I don't know if people are complaining to LinkedIn or not about information overload, but perhaps the the problem when you try to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Perhaps it's time for a social site for those who want to work hard enough to get past a little learning curve as well as deal with the consequences of their networking strategy.

Phil Friedman

8 years ago #6

Thank you, Chas Wyatt, for reading and commenting. There is so much wrong with the LI programming it is hard to discern whether any particular problem is a symptom of systems incompetence or malicious intent. Either way, not good. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

8 years ago #5

Thank you, @Paul Kemner, for reading and commenting. Your experience with LinkedIn is interesting to hear about. Their violations of equitable and fair treatment are likely legion, although well hidden. Althoug I sometimes wonder if it isn't petty lower and middle managers who haven't a lick of sense who perpetrate these things. LI is a private, for-profit corporation and as such can set their own rules of operation. However, I have wondered if the U.S.federal laws governing restraint of trade might not apply. LinkedIn bills itself as a B2C and B2B marketplace, and a recruiting forum. As such, I have a feeling that handing out unequal and arbitrary suspensions and revocations of membership privileges might interfere with an individual's or a business's protection of free trade under such federal law. Anyway, understand that you are not alone. Take a look at: hrrp://

Phil Friedman

8 years ago #4

Well, @Mohammend A. Jawad, I can live with that. Unfortunately, I don't think we can rely of the bulk of mankind to behave rationally, or even in their own best interests. So we need to set the structure in which they engage and interact to at least guide them along sensible paths, while avoiding at all costs interfering to such an extent that we are attempting to exert mind control. Thank you for reading and commenting. Cheers!

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

8 years ago #3

While advocates of social media keep provoking users to keep growing their connections, eventually all the masses are not so intelligent. Some fancy making connections without any interaction or sharing any worthwhile information. Perhaps, to be moderate, sensible and responsible on the social media is a great blessing for one's health and balanced affairs in life.
Federico \u00c1lvarez San Mart\u00edn for your patience . Sometimes we fail but we are confident to solve all your problems and we want to be important for you !

Phil Friedman

8 years ago #1

Okay! Federico \u00c1lvarez San Mart\u00edn. You guys are the Bee's Knees -- if any of you are old enough to know that expression. :-) Cheers!

Articles from Phil Friedman

View blog
6 years ago · 4 min. reading time


6 years ago · 3 min. reading time


6 years ago · 1 min. reading time


Related professionals

You may be interested in these jobs

  • Description · HCA Parkridge Medical Center · 2333 Mccallie Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37404 · Are you looking for a work environment where diversity and inclusion thrive? Submit your application for our Medical Technologist opening with Parkridge Medical Center today and find out what ...

  • TotalMed Allied Redmond, United States

    TotalMed Allied is seeking a travel CT Technologist for a travel job in Redmond, Oregon. · Job Description & Requirements · Specialty: CT Technologist · Discipline: Allied Health Professional · Start Date: ASAP · Duration: 13 weeks · 36 hours per week · Shift: 12 hours, ni ...

  • Crescent Hotels & Resorts

    Line Cooks

    4 weeks ago

    Careers ** Line Cooks** · ** Line Cooks** · **EVEN Hotel Norwalk** · The Even Hotel Norwalk has immediate openings for energetic, outgoing and experienced individuals to fill the position of Line Cook. · We offer excellent benefits to include health, dental, vision, life, sho ...