“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Sir Walter Scott
A couple of days ago I (perhaps foolishly) commented on a post advocating the use of engagement pods.
If you’re immediately asking, “What are engagement pods, Darrel?” then let me explain:
Engagement pods are groups of LinkedIn users who have mutually agreed to ‘game’ or ‘hack’ the algorithm to increase visibility – by engaging with each other’s posts to give them a ‘leg-up’ in the first hour after they’re published (since, apparently, the first hour after publishing is critical to ‘persuading’ the LinkedIn algorithm to share a post more widely – or something to that effect, anyway – someone in a pod please enlighten me!).
Which, on the surface might sound like a good idea to some people.
But there’s a darker side to engagement pods that few consider or are even willing to acknowledge.
And the darker side is why I hate engagement pods (and, no, ‘hate’ isn’t too strong a word to describe how I feel about them) and I’d like to warn you against joining one.
Here are just four reasons why I hate them:
BECAUSE ENGAGEMENT PODS ARE PURELY SELF-SERVING
I only have myself in view when participating in an engagement pod. The fact that I’m inflicting others’ average-at-best-content on my connections isn’t a consideration here. It’s all about me, my goals, my reach. Me, myself, and I.
BECAUSE ENGAGEMENT PODS ARE MORE ABOUT REACH THAN QUALITY OF CONTENT
I don’t have to care remotely about the quality of content I inflict on others. That’s irrelevant. With an engagement pod, I can achieve significant reach with my bang-average content. And that’s all that matters, right? Who cares if the content isn’t any good? I’m getting EXPOSURE! (I haven’t gotten any business from this bang-average content – but surely it’s just a matter of time before the exposure counts for something, right?)
BECAUSE ENGAGEMENT PODS INFLICT MEH CONTENT ON MY NETWORK
But that doesn’t matter, right? Because this is all about me. Not what I inflict on you to gain more exposure. Everyone knows that business coach in my pod can’t write good copy for toffee. But we’re scratching each other’s backs in this engagement pod – so you, dear connection, are just going to have to suck it up and ‘enjoy’ his content, whether you like it or not.
BECAUSE ENGAGEMENT PODS GIVE ME A FALSE PICTURE ABOUT MY CONTENT
“Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies,” sang Fleetwood Mac. Call me a naive purist if you like, but I believe content should stand and fall on merit alone. But my ‘pod partners’ will engage with my content regardless of what I publish. So I’m happily fooling myself into believing my content is better than it is. And because in reality it’s bang-average content, will it ultimately lead to more opportunities? Or just more busyness due to all this new exposure I’m experiencing?
A FAR BETTER APPROACH
Is to think about those you seek to serve.
Position yourself FOR THEM
Package your services FOR THEM
Publish great content FOR THEM
Engage authentically WITH THEM
No, I’m not offering you a silver bullet or a get-rich-quick scheme. But an approach that works. Very effectively, in fact.
Or ignore me completely. That is, of course, your prerogative.