A handful of friends have asked me on multiple occasions why it is that I post on LinkedIn and Twitter (but mainly LinkedIn) so frequently.
According to what they tell me, they only jump on LinkedIn when they switch jobs, are looking for jobs, or have a title change. On Twitter, there’s no content production, only consumption. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But it provides insight into something I think many of us who build in public overlook.
My answer: I build in public.
After I answer their question, I’m reminded of the following:
- Building in public is still a niche term, and a niche thing to do. Not many people know about it, and it primarily happens on Twitter.
- Those that do know about it are mostly in the tech/maker/indie hacker/no-code scene.
- The psychology of each social network is vastly different. Your mentality going into LinkedIn is very different than your mentality going into Twitter. Same goes for all other platforms.
- Two of those three friends said that they mainly go on LinkedIn to update their positions and that’s it. So that’s the expectation they also have in terms of content consumption. The fact that my content was different from their expectation (or what they typically consume) prompted them to ask me.
What it means to build in public
Building in public is about demonstrating the ins and outs of what you’re doing. Usually, this comes in the form of building a product or service. It has to do with exposing both the positives and the negatives in full transparency.
Big news? Share it. Small win? Share it. Small hiccup? Share it. Catastrophic failure? Share it. A rising tide lifts all boats, which is why I named my blog Rising Tide.
Considerations when building in public
With this comes vulnerability and learning in public. When you fail, you open yourself up to a lot of vulnerability. But with that vulnerability comes growth, learning, and even strength.
That vulnerability is often a huge deterrent for people. For me, that vulnerability becomes a deterrent-not because of the vulnerability itself-but because of the medium. In my case, social media.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the risks and tradeoffs in continuing to use social media. Some refer to it as, “ the social dilemma.”
I wish I could share my #buildinpublic adventures via a medium that wasn’t designed to extract and manipulate us in the way that social media does, because there’s lots of value to be extracted from building in public for both the producer and consumer. But the vast majority of the value is extracted by the distribution platform, leaving the producer and consumer with scraps.
Still, the world isn’t perfect, and there are tradeoffs. This is one tradeoff I compromise on because there’s no other alternative (as of this writing).
Since building in public, I’ve met some good people, many of whom are building (or want to build) products and also revel in sharing the journey.
Another reason I bring “build in public” to LinkedIn is because it interjects a fresh new content mix.
LinkedIn is notorious for word jumbling. It’s a professional network, so I get it. But you have to admit-some stuff does get ridiculous sometimes. I mean… the LinkedIn memes exist for a reason.
Since building in public is about authenticity and transparency, it brings a different type of tone to LinkedIn that can feel refreshing. Plus, it brings attention to new concepts and movements like these to platforms that may be generally otherwise unaware. The psychology of every social media platform is different, so introducing something that goes against the waves can be beneficial for everyone.
It’d be inaccurate to say that building in public is worth all the risk that comes with doing so on social media in its current state (because it would justify the immoral and unethical practices of social media), but the irony of this is that social media is currently where the attention is, so it’s where we need to make everyone aware of these issues, so that we can continue transitioning away and/or fixing these problems.
This piece of writing in itself could be considered a part of building in public. When you read this piece of mine, you’re gaining an insight into my thought process. Hopefully, that means you learned something new.
Maybe you agreed with something, but disagreed with something else. Maybe I challenged you (and myself) to think about something differently.
That’s part of the beauty in building in public, writing in public, and ultimately learning in public.