Giving Third Degrees the Third Degree
Why are the LinkedIn haters often remote connections?
I’ve been conducting an unscientific survey on LinkedIn, and I’ve noticed a trend when it comes to trolls, whatabouters, haters and misogynists - they’re almost always third degree connections without a profile picture. I thought it was my imagination, but as I was writing this, I saw a few more activists comment on the same trend. And I have questions:
1. Are there real people behind the grey avatars?
First of all, are they even real? In the 21st century (unless you’re doing it for safety reasons, as some women do), failing to have your photo or a logo representing your business on your social media profile is just weird, so I do wonder if some of these profiles are set up just for the purpose of trolling. I know it happens on other platforms. I get a few on the rare occasions I post on Medium, and I’ve already mentioned some of the people who comment on this newsletter, if you could call it commenting.
2. Is their behavior OK with their companies?
Second, if they ARE real, do the companies they claim to work for know that they’re out there spewing hate? I have to tell you, I don’t have time to track down every single one, though John J. Cousens and others do a great job of screenshotting and reporting racists. I always wonder if there are ever any repercussions for these people. I’ve heard of a couple, but for the most part they seem to get away with their bigotry. That’s not helped by the fact that the algorithms let pale stale males get away with a lot of things I couldn’t get away with as a person of the global majority.
3. What’s the point of them?
Third, why do they bother? Honestly, where do these people come from? They’re not immediate connections or connections of connections, so how do they even know when to turn up and start trolling? Does LinkedIn tell them? Because it’s not telling me what third degree connections are up to. That suggests that they come looking for us - they want to troll us, and spew their whataboutery, bigotry and hate. I’m not sure what the point of trolling is - why they can’t just leave it and move on?
Calling Out the Cowardly Trolls
My last point isn’t a question but a statement: they’re cowards. I have people in my life with whom I disagree on some things. We are open about what we disagree on. But these people hide behind the grey person icon which is a cowardly thing to do. And they abuse the power of their privilege to get away with hatred. As I’ve said before, I don’t engage, but it still annoys me sometimes.
Fellow activists, and aspiring allies, what have you noticed about your haters?
Thanks for reading,
Between December 20th and January 9th, I’ll be publishing once a week on Wednesdays. Twice-weekly articles will resume from January 10th.
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Cover photo courtesy of Canva.