I’m not stupid.

I came from a job with more rules and restrictions than North Korea.

Education is divorced from the real world, operating in a petty set of rules that only apply to certain people lower down the food chain and not further up, where Teflon suits are worn daily.

The hypocrisy and double standards are startling, trust me.

I know that speaking your mind in schools was akin to questioning a military dictator, when all around you were incompetent greasers sidling up to bosses and generally engaging not in pedagogy but backstabbing.

I’d say teachers – having worked in loads of schools – are the worst type of people generally and I can count on two hands the colleagues I’d trust over 27 years.

Speaking your mind in schools, at a staff meeting or head of department meeting, was the quickest way to get access into the headteacher’s office, often prefaced by those immortal words “Have you got a minute?” – always educational coda for a big bollocking.

I’ve had quite a few minutes in my career where I’ve dared to  challenge something and ended up carpeted.

But here’s the rub.

Not only can you not say anything in the actual school but now many are gagged online.

It is Orwellian, but I’m ranting when I need to get back to the title: boring LinkedIn.

Let’s start with my view on LinkedIn when I opened an account – it was full of corporate psychobabble about leadership, welfare and lots of mutual back-patting between people who you’d cross the road to avoid in real life.

In 2014, it was tedious, dull but worthy – with few subverters of the platform.

But it’s changed – and for the better I believe.

Pre 2015, LinkedIn was a great cure for insomnia, but now it’s become, dare I say it, quite fun.

If used in the way you want to use it, it can create great laughter, good virtual friendships and some income.

There’s people I’m connected with on LinkedIn who I would gladly high five in the street and dine out with. There’s real helpers on there. People who go out of their way to support and mentor and encourage. I’d like to think I’m one – though I do have an acerbic tongue which I vent frequently, since I left educational Alcatraz.

To me, there’s five key factors about LinkedIn to follow for success:

  1. RELATIONSHIPS. Build that relationship first on LinkedIn and like a real life relationship don’t rush into proposing. There is nothing worse to my mind than when I accept a connection, they then contact me with a cut and paste proposal. You’re being ignored sorry. I often tell them too: you’re doing marketing wrongly. Build the relationship first.
  2. CONNECT ELSEWHERE. Some connections on LinkedIn are Instagram or Twitter followers, some like my Facebook page and I reciprocate. I do this not in a stamp-collecting way but to see the whole person. What they post on LinkedIn is often different to Instagram and you see facets of character that you never noticed before. People buy from people and I’m sure if I wanted to make a major purchase, that person connected with me on LinkedIn and Instagram would be a first port of call. People do business with people they like – it’s not rocket science.
  3. HAVE FUN. If you can disconnect from the deifying of Branson, Jobs, Vishnepolsky et al, you can have some fun. There is banter on LinkedIn to be had, and who doesn’t like a laugh? I do. Some people pull faces at it and occasionally the LinkedIn police pop up and threaten arrest. There’s people who put you down for having a laugh – just ignore is my advice or if they’re offensive, block. Mix posts up too – stating how you can help with SEO / Web Design / Writing and your phone number every day bores me and others to death. Be witty, have fun.
  4. ENGAGE. When people post statuses, and not just your connections, if you want to add anything, like or comment. You may be in a job like I was where it’s better to sit on a fence than cross the social media minefields, but if you’re not, engage and add your views. I’m a rarity on LinkedIn in that I’ve never voted Tory or will ever vote Tory in my life. I don’t hide that – despite some people saying politics (particularly Corbynistas like me) have no place on LinkedIn. Unfollow, block or disconnect from me if you’re socialist phobic. I won’t mind.
  5. POST 3 TIMES A DAY. Two years ago, I’d have advised against posting more than once a day, Monday to Friday. 7 am was optimum time according to LinkedIn gurus. It’s changed though. It’s not reached Twitter proportions of 12 times a day but I blithely post 3 times a day and see good reach and engagement on all posts – if I go all dull and worthy, I get 50 views. Something leftfield 10,000 views and more.

Finally if you can’t be yourself on social media and say what you believe, you need to leave that company who have you in leg irons and shackles and break free.

Go self-employed and tell your controlling boss, Kim Jong Un, to find another mug to manipulate.

Trust me, it’s worth it.

Want to know more?

Connect with me on LinkedIn and see a subverter in action.