Your private sky

I have been told by an adviser, someone with a real sense of humanity, who helps people get along in this world and is good at it, that my LinkedIn page is close to useless, a lost opportunity. I don’t remember the exact words but I agree completely with the substance of his assessment, except that it wasn’t harsh enough. My LinkedIn page is crap. Less than crap. When crap is added to the earth it makes things grow, it nourishes people and animals and makes them happy, it feeds flowers that look beautiful in gardens and vases, and supports a vast community of life forms that are inexplicably profoundly wonderful. My LinkedIn page nourishes no one, it grows and supports nothing, and it’s ugly.

The problem is, although I know I need LinkedIn, I just can’t like it. I find it hard to go there.

I have found lots to not like about it; about the scorecard nature of this form of media; about being assessed by strangers; about its overtly transactional nature; about the glib language it seems to facilitate; about conservative, mid-corporate, neo-liberal, relentlessly hi-fiving American business culture; about the ra-ra-ra tone of everything that offends my closet lefty sensibilities; about the dumbed-downness of it and the culture of corporate happiness; about being an easy mark and a unit for data harvesting; about posts that are reposts of other peoples’ posts; and for a ‘visual person’, about the sheer ugliness of those pages.

Of course this list is incomplete. I omit my own shortcomings, that are, as I understand it, pretty average. The fear of being assessed and not shaping up; an obsessive need for privacy; the imposter syndrome that puts the brakes on self promotion, that no amount of success will assuage.

But now I have committed myself to a deadline. To at least make it useful if people look me up; to do myself a favour and fix it. My adviser says, just start, just chip away at it. So I start chipping.

He says the blue panel behind the portrait can be changed to something more interesting, particularly if you’re a designer, so this is where I begin.

I begin at a sort of real world equivalent of an opening page — my own front gate. I take a photograph of this vast volume of air and vapour I see when I look up towards the ridge of a flat topped hill to the east. It’s one of the things I like about where I live; its vast sense of space and the historical and language attachments to landscape: the indigenous place names, the conical hill where the Clarke brothers (local bushrangers in the 1800s) kept lookout for the cops, the (possibly bullshit) story from one of the cattlemen about the wind on the ridge being so strong one day it lifted the dogs up into the air (great mental image of half a dozen barking, airborne kelpies) and rolled them down the hill.

And then I ask myself: do I want to put this picture into a LinkedIn page? I think: no. It’s more at home in this blog, where I can say things about it that have nothing to do with winning the next job but a lot to do with who I am. I’ll fix those pages because it’s a worthwhile thing to do. LinkedIn has its uses, but it won’t be a private sky.


I borrowed the title. It’s one I have always loved. Your Private Sky is a book about R Buckminster Fuller. Joachim Krausse and Claude Lichtenstein (eds). Lars Müller Publishers.
In the middle of the next photo is a distant cone-shaped hill which is said to be one of the Clarke brothers’ lookouts.