Why So Serious?

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Did you ever see the viral videos of that guy that sets up a table on a busy street and invites lively debate by putting up a sign with a provocative statement that ends with "Change My Mind"? Well, here's mine;

LinkedIn needs a "laugh" emoji.

Currently, LinkedIn has approximately 722 million users, and you, or your company, are very likely one of them. 40 million people use LinkedIn to search for jobs each week, and 3 people are hired through LinkedIn every minute.

I understand - LinkedIn is the "professional" platform where important people go to connect with other important people, share important things, and find important jobs. I'm a big fan of the platform and grateful for the opportunities it provides. But what would it hurt to laugh a little along the way? With like, celebrate, support, love, insightful, and curious, LinkedIn offers more response options than any other social platform. But the happiest emoji of all is sadly missing.

Recently a father posted a chart of five different popular non-alcoholic drinks for a survey his daughter was doing in school. The content asked you to comment with your top choice. (Not laugh emoji worthy content, I know, but that kind of example is hard to come by on LinkedIn, so this one will have to do.)

Predictably, it didn't take long for Mr. Buzzkill to weigh in. "I think you meant to post this on Facebook," he wheezed. (Or at least that's how I imagined him sounding.) And I thought, probably along with a lot of other people, why does he care? What motivated him to feel the need to be the LinkedIn Police and slap this good dad on the wrist for a post he deemed unworthy of the platform? Even if the post had no appeal, can't we still applaud that dad for being involved in his daughter's life and then just keep scrolling?

I'm drawn to the posts that show someone's full personality - not just their business side. In my own LinkedIn experience, the updates that reveal the slightly funnier side of my personal and professional life get the most engagement by far. I think they serve to help people know me better and, in turn, make more meaningful connections with me. In fact, I know they do. I can't tell you how many times I've had customers I've never met tell me over the phone that they feel like they know me already because of the personal and fun nature of many of my posts. And I love that.

Social media has given us the ability to have hundreds and thousands of impersonal "friends" and connections who can potentially benefit us professionally. That's good, but I find myself craving more meaningful connections these days - and a lot more laughter!

So, I submit that LinkedIn could remain the most professional platform even if they lightened up a bit by adding a laugh emoji response option. The business side of life doesn't always have to be the boring side. And I invite you to change my mind.

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BY JOE ALTIERI

Joe Altieri is a third-generation entrepreneur, inventor, speaker, and the President and CEO of his own multi-million dollar company. He learned the value of company culture and building strong teams by watching his father and grandfather operate successful businesses.

During his 20+ years in the window industry, Joe recognized the inherent problems with traditional window screens and dealt personally with constant customer frustrations. Always an outside-the-box thinker, he knew there had to be a better way, so he set up shop in his garage and got to work. After years of trial and error, FlexScreen, the world's first and only flexible window screen, was born.

Since its introduction into the marketplace, FlexScreen has gained international attention and earned multiple industry awards. Most notably, FlexScreen was catapulted to the forefront when Joe appeared on ABC's hit show, Shark Tank, in January 2020. Three of the five Sharks battled for a piece of FlexScreen with Lori Greiner, the Queen of QVC, ultimately winning the deal.

Joe is a firm believer in giving back, and he is generous with his resources and his time. Several years ago, he was honored and recognized as one of Pittsburgh's Volunteers of the Year. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife of 25 years, Alisha. They have four children, four grandchildren, and two very pampered Cane Corso's.

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