LinkedIn vs. WordPress, a Tale of Two Mental Health Communities

I spend a fair amount of time on LinkedIn these days, both to try and get my book into the hands of mental health/addiction professionals and to make connections with those professionals as I still figure out how my pornography addiction education mission can best move forward. It’s a very different world than WordPress.

Before I get into it, I have to say the No. 1 strangest thing that I’ve witnessed among mental health professionals on LinkedIn is just how many of them like to create memes where they quote themselves. It’s seriously fucking weird! I don’t know if it’s a marketing thing where they hope others will share it or if it’s just a narcissistic side of them that sometimes comes with people who are smart and have the capability to heal, but I’m never going to get comfortable with it. You let other people quote you. You don’t quote yourself.

meme

Anyway, for me, the biggest difference is that the community I’ve cultivated on WordPress are either struggling addicts, former addicts, people with mental health issues, or empaths. Demographically, it’s all over the spectrum from teenagers to people in their 70s, male, female, located all over the world in various socioeconomic conditions, but there is also a comfortable sameness with just about every person, including me. It’s a firm understanding that we don’t have all the answers. That kind of self-awareness and humility is quite often not seen among the ranks on LinkedIn.

I remember being introduced to the street smarts vs. book smarts theory when I was probably 12 or 13 years old. There were those kids, like I was expected to be, who excelled in their studies and would go on to do smart things in smart careers and then go home to their smart wives and smart children at the end of the day. Then there were the other kids, they were the ones who would fill the labor and service jobs, but they’d have a real-life worldliness that I couldn’t understand because things came almost too easy to me. While I could do the taxes of the other group, I’d be dependent upon them to protect me in a fight.

As I’ve learned, that concept is moronic. Facebook proved that some of the kids who should have died by accidentally electrocuting themselves because they were so stupid go onto great things and some of the kids with the most potential flame-out the hardest.

The one place I do see this idea somewhat played out, though, is in the world of addiction. When I got into my first rehab, I met people who I thought I’d have nothing in common with. Many became good friends. A guy who got kicked out of the Hells Angels for being too violent and getting in too much trouble with the law was probably my best friend in my first rehab. What did we have in common? We knew addiction and it was enough to bond us. I learned this lesson again at the second rehab, and at the limited 12-step meetings and group therapy sessions I attended. Addiction made us street smart whether we were an 18-year-old meth addict or a 68-year-old sex addict.

But, if there is street smart in that equation, there has to be book smart, and I’ve finally met this side of the coin on LinkedIn. I like LinkedIn because it is kept professional, relatively politics-free, yet there is still a lot of inspiration and videos of dogs doing cute things.

There are a lot of people in mental health/addiction who have dealt with an issue, but on LinkedIn, not every one of those people are quick to share. Part of my recovery is being as honest as I possibly can as often as I possibly can, so I don’t go to any length to hide my history with pornography or alcohol.

The book smart are the mental health professionals who have never had a major issue with addiction or their own mental health. They’ve witnessed health conditions that they are very qualified to diagnose and treat, yet they don’t know what it’s like to have been there. It’s like someone who is an expert in ancient Egyptian history. I still think a goat herder who actually lived in Egypt during the building of the Pyramids could probably beat them in a game show, even if they were only a peasant. There is just something to be said for experience vs. theoretically knowledge.

In dealing with the LinkedIn community, I’ve gotten a vibe again and again that I’m dealing with people who think they have answers to our world’s growing pornography addiction problem, even if they haven’t dealt with a lot of clients who have it yet. They have the answers because, on an academic level, they’ve always had the answers.

Depending on who the person is and their exact background, the answer may be 101 different things, but they are relatively sure they have the answer, even when the answer is that porn addiction isn’t a real thing. Whether it’s sweat lodge workshops, filters galore on your computer, or the same tired arguments against porn that have been around for 50 years and never worked, they have THE answer.

Now, I don’t want to slam all of them. I’ve made some great friends and important contacts. They know who they are and I’m grateful to have you in my life. But, I’ve also met people who wouldn’t give me the time of day because I’m just a former addict with no letters after his name. It feels like those who even bother to acknowledge that I’m trying to actually bring resources to the table for addicts with my books, presentations and website mostly just pat me on the head and tell me to run along while the grown-ups figure out the answers to the world’s problems.

On WordPress, there’s sometimes a victim mentality of people who just can’t get out of their own way, and I think on some levels don’t want to, in order to get better or improve their situation. WordPress has a lot of wallowers, and they frustrate me to no end. On LinkedIn, that frustration comes from a superiority mentality of people who have plenty of knowledge, but very little experience. I think the real money will be in creating the social media app that exists somewhere in the middle.

What’s most ironic is that I spent no time on LinkedIn before my newest book came out, yet it basically is a street smart/book smart take on porn addictions for partners of addicts. If you want to support a street-smart troll, click HERE to learn more about the book.

And of course, all of this said, if you want to join me on LinkedIn, feel free.

 

 

14 thoughts on “LinkedIn vs. WordPress, a Tale of Two Mental Health Communities

  1. I’ve never spent enough time on LinkedIn to get much of a feel for any sort of community there. But it doesn’t surprise me that there are people who think they’re more special than they actually are.

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    1. I don’t dislike it there, but I feel like I can tell you about 50 people I know about and read regularly, or comment on my stuff here. Over there, it’s probably about 5 and most of the “getting to know you” process actually takes place away from the site. I know it’s apples and oranges in some ways, but it reminds me of a networking function where people are only saying enough to find out if you’ll be useful to them.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Angela, I can’t unsubscribe you from my end. I think you can go to your Reader and at the top it will say Manage and if you click that button it brings you everyone you follow. If you can’t unfollow me from there, you can at least change your settings so it doesn’t pop up in your feed.

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  2. Interesting. I rarely check out LinkedIn. I guess a lot of people are looking to be seen as being experts in their field. Hence, they like to major on the crudentials, the work experience, the peer reviewed papers etc. I’m sure it works for some of them but often that’s not the main way that doors open anyway. I also think people have more respect for someone who’s authentic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And I do have to give credit to the fact there are many authentic people on there. I had a nice exchange with a person over the last few days who has agreed to write a guest blog in the near future and I’m really looking forward to what she will contribute. With the leaning on the credentials bit, I guess we all want to feel like we’re doing well, but so many of the pitches I see for services belong on Facebook, where their potential clients may be. No matter how bad my marriage is, or how much I need a personal trainer, finding the right one on the other side of the country isn’t going to do me any good.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know Brennan Manning’s writings come from a decidedly Christian viewpoint, I think what he wrote in one of his books is appropriate here: “The bromides, platitudes and exhortations to trust God from nominal believers who’ve never visited the valley of desolation are not only useless, they’re textbook illustrations of unmitigated gall. Only someone who has been there, who has drunk the dregs of our cup of pain, who has experienced the loneliness and alienation of the human condition, dares whisper the name of the Holy to our unspeakable distress. Only that witness is credible; only that love is believable.”

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    1. I kind of get what he’s saying. Like I kind of got Beowulf. I think there’s a lot to be said for schooling. You’d think being the offspring of two school teachers that I’d embrace it more, but with the things in life that I’m good at, or feel I have above-average knowledge, I’ve needed to experience them, and then do the research — on my own — afterward. Ironically, I now feel like I’m equipped to run a business because of all the ghost-writing I’ve done with business leaders since I shuttered my businesses. But it’s my experience that makes me know if what they’re saying is right or wrong. I couldn’t have done it the other way around.

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  4. To quote yourself must be the academic version of the selfie! I can’t believe it.

    I’m not on LinkedIn but I have experience working as a professional and working with mental health advocates. What you say is true. I’ve seen it happen. Former ‘patients’ are given a voice and play a their role in the mental health field but they are still looked at differently. I know I’m looked at differently because of my history. In my opinion the academic knowledge provides a sort of shield, the knowing of the answers gives some people a safe ground to operate from. Truly working with mental health issues means to be vulnerable and not to know the answers.

    As for WP I can only speak for myself and sometimes I get frustrated too because of the slow pace of my recovery. Nonetheless I keep on writing but I admit that sometimes it is a lot of repeating. The repeating with some variation is my path to recovery but the steps are small.

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  5. “… it reminds me of a networking function where people are only saying enough to find out if you’ll be useful to them.” I think that’s exactly what LinkedIn has become. Personally, I’ve had clients check me out on LI, but I’ve never actually gotten a client solely because they found me on LI. I have contacts who are extremely active on the site, but most seem to simply exist there and update their profiles so that they can be found and deemed current and connected by others. My firm obligates me to update my profile regularly. I do it because I have to, but for my particular practice it’s just not that productive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It kills you not to be able to connect to me, doesn’t it 🙂 Like I’ve said a few times, I’ve made some valuable connections and it’s a cost-effective way for me to introduce my book to hundreds or thousands of people who could help make it relevant longer than a couple of months. It has probably introduced me to people who will help me, and I can possibly help, far more than Twitter or Facebook does but I don’t know…so much of it is just a billboard for one’s own awesomeness. I would have loved it 10 years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

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