Mario Sundar's Speakeasy

Spero Ventures. Early LinkedIn, Twitter. These are my thoughts on tech, brand, marketing and community.

How did LinkedIn become the last best social network standing

Why I continue to use LinkedIn (and Twitter), after my rift with the rest!

Love LinkedIn’s new features that popped up over the last few weeks, including LinkedIn Live, Newsletters (in “Creator” mode), Dark Mode, and No Politics mode.

Now, can someone at LinkedIn turn on the No Cringe mode 1, and make my day!

Jokes aside, LinkedIn’s tortoise to the fast-moving, fast-breaking Facebook, Instagram 2 and the ilk, is slowly, but surely winning its own race. Against all odds, and competition, in a world that increasingly drowns & revels in noise, LinkedIn’s legendary CEO Jeff Weiner’s 3 ethos of deriving “signal from noise” is finally seeing its purpose writ large 4 in its winning, at-large.

LinkedIn is the super-hero the world never asked for! Boring, dependable, and utilitarian. LinkedIn is not the social network your Mom warned you about, vs. Timothée Chalamet’s TikTok, Tilda Swinton’s Instagram, and Bill Murray’s Facebook.

Wes Anderson, auteur and director of “The French Dispatch” also cuts the check for everyone else in the picture below, and is a perfect stand-in for LinkedIn. 5

Let’s dig deeper. I’ve checked out all of these three new features and I’m here to say: they are incremental, they work (sorta, kinda, some not yet) but LinkedIn has one job. To get you a job. And, since they’re still great at it.

The rest is just icing on the cake.

So, take em for a spin. Here’s my quick-take on all three new features, hat tip WSJ’s Joanna Stern. 6:


1. Creativity on LinkedIn? What does that even mean?


Who is a Creator on LinkedIn?

My $0.02: LinkedIn Live, and Newsletters doesn’t work yet. But turning on Creator Mode, allows you to set 5 topics you’re going to be writing on more proficiently, and my assumption is you get better promotion for those topics. Think of this, as getting in line at an Apple Store, for a new iPhone.

Sometimes you’re just a few decades in the wrong place. Joining LinkedIn, one of the first goals was to find ways LinkedIn was teeming with LinkedIn Open Networkers (LIONs) and one of our main goals was to expand our offering to more mainstream professionals.

Fast-forward to today, and you see LinkedIn’s new focus on “creators,” Who is a creator on LinkedIn?

So, I just turned on my LinkedIn “Creator” profile on LinkedIn, given my attempts at turning on the writing spigot, anytime now.

Here’s how I turned on “Creator Mode” on LinkedIn. I’m still unsure, why social networks make it so obscure to find basic things like this feature set. For starters, it’s in your profile section.

So, hit “View Profile,” from your “Me” icon on the top right hand, and you’ll see “Resources” (Private to You), right below Analytics.

Clicking on “Resources,” lets you choose up to 5 topics you’ll be writing about. What does this result in? I’m not sure, but I presume, there’s a level of engagement and attention that might be directed towards your profile at that point.

And, I can check if that’s the case. For example, prior to turning on “Creator Mode,” I was pleasantly surprised to see couple of my earlier posts garner over 3000 views, and one which Jeff Weiner had shared, got me nearly 300,000 views.

My Top 5 Biggest Hits on LinkedIn:

1. CEOs Good to Great: Who Made the Cut and Why (363,655 views) 
2. 2020: Reflections on a Year Gone Wrong (5830 views) 
3. It's time to unfriend Facebook and "the algorithm" (3290 views and counting) 
4. Covid made me do it: Life, Love and Work (1510 views) 
5. Time for Stories: The Next Era of Social Media is Now (846 views)  

The secret to many of these views is 1. Write interesting content, 2. Make it so it ties to the right people who care about that content, and 3. Promote.

The rules are the same on Twitter, which was the first time (after the world of blogging) where we atomized attention to specific individuals through @ mentions and topics (# Hashtags). This is LinkedIn’s world of hashtags (similar to what Instagram copied from Twitter).

Regardless, if you see yourself writing content on a more regular basis, it’s worth checking out how much this new feature, helps you with attention and vitality.


2. LinkedIn Live & Newsletters


This alone is worth marketers the price of admission to LinkedIn. This is a big deal.

My $0.02: Email never dies. Social media might, but your trusty old boring email never does. Just ask Substack. LinkedIn Newsletters is a perfect distribution mechanism for content you create on LinkedIn. And, LinkedIn Live is a great add-on for any “creator” or “brand” that chooses Clubhouse, like live-audio or live-video to promote your brand — personal or corporate.

Both LinkedIn Live (I’m not sure whether this is a Clubhouse clone or an Instagram Live clone) regardless, both are worth having in your marketing arsenal, especially if you happen to be in marketing for any brand.

And, newsletters are even more interesting, given Substack’s popularity, it was but natural that LinkedIn & Twitter will attempt to add both these features and LinkedIn just did.

The problem though is both these features are “live” yet not live, when you turn it on. All documentation suggests I should have both features available once I’ve turned on “Creator mode,” but my best explanation as to why not, is that LinkedIn is rolling this out slowly over multiple geographies.

What helps you create a newsletter on LinkedIn?

And, these are the exact same criteria for LinkedIn Live, although China is the only creator that isn’t feasible yet. I wish LinkedIn were more transparent about when and how one gets access to these newsletters, but that’s just the nature of product rollouts.

Now that I have the feature enabled, let’s see how long before it gets turned on.

In addition, I’ve also tried doing the same with Revue on Twitter, so let’s see if that works.

Whether it’s your killer Excel formula or big thoughts on payroll management, your expertise is in demand. LinkedIn wants you to share it as a “creator”⁠—yes, the word tech companies have fallen in love with to describe people who, well, create videos, posts and other internet stuff. — Wall Street Journal 7

This is the stuff that Quora and Reddit have been really good at doing. Creating their corner of the internet, filled with categories of hashtags and answers. And LinkedIn is finally entering that territory, given nearly a billion professionals call LinkedIn home.


More Signal, less Noise


From the early days of Jeff Weiner, I’ve heard him talk about separating signal from the noise, and I feel like some of the features LinkedIn most recently announced are variations on that theme.

In particular, the no-politics mode they debuted, is what one would expect from LinkedIn and also firmly establishes them in the opposite camp as noisy as it seems most days. I, personally, have not experimented with the feature, but it feels necessary and LinkedIn’s implementation trivial.

1. At the Source: Remove Every Post with Political Bias

Every time you see a post that’s overtly political, you now have a chance to set the record straight, scratch the entry and start from scratch. I’m curious if this means you won’t see similar posts, or posts from the author itself?

2. Master Switch: Feed Preferences

This is in the “Settings and Privacy” tab, and once you’re there, it’s a little convoluted but you have to look for “Feed preferences,” that’s stuck towards the bottom of “Site Preferences,” and off you go.

p.s. That said, I am disappointed it feels nearly impossible to find the folks I follow, but I guess if the game is to make things as simple as possible, not too simple, than this might be it.

No politics nor religion in the workplace or at Thanksgiving dinner, and LinkedIn seems to be taking it seriously, and rightly so. How well it works remains to be seen. But its implementation is simple, effective, one-click. Kudos to a product team firing on all cylinders!

For those 810 million users on LinkedIn, if you’re wondering how do I turn on the No-BS or No-politics mode, if you’re wondering how can I create a newsletter or share my thoughts more publicly with my right circles, I think LinkedIn’s making some moves. I will be closely watching, definitely trying out the “creator” features, and can’t wait to make LinkedIn my newsletter of choice (it’s been 15 years in the making, since I started there).

And, if you’re wondering how do I turn on Dark Mode. Look no further…


  1. This is true on LinkedIn & Twitter, and much worse, when I started there in 2006. But today, you have a new brand of “marketers” and self-promoters, who say things like this. That said, I think LinkedIn is in a similar position, where they want the mainstream of “creators” not just the cringe ones. ↩︎
  2. The aggressive algorithm on all other social networks is what led me to quitting them en masse. Here’s how I explained it last week. ↩︎
  3. I’ve heard Jeff, in his early days, both as an acting-CEO and later as-CEO, drilled down the idea that LinkedIn’s greatest asset of ↩︎
  4. This post is a response to a WSJ exclusive by Joanna Stern, who interviews LinkedIn’s current CEO, who I’ve known from over a decade ago, and announces 5 new features; 3 impactful, 2 minor, that I cover in this post ↩︎
  5. This picture stirred a meme on Twitter, at the Cannes premiere of Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch,” at times absurd yet provoking bemusement the four here, in their “natural” avatars represent a diaspora of human or corporate diversity that lends itself well to humor. ↩︎
  6. Joanna Stern’s post on WSJ does a pretty good job of highlighting the new features, and this post is me, trying out all three features and my raw, honest take on all of em: Creator Mode, LinkedIn Live, and No-politics mode; the other gimmicky mode being the dark mode ↩︎
  7. From Joanna Stern’s interview with LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky ↩︎

Filed under: Latest at LinkedIn, LinkedIn Features, What's New in Social Media, , , , , , ,

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