We're rushing to LinkedIn for good news. Is it the last wholesome place on the internet?

LinkedIn has long been the butt of the internet's jokes. 

As a business and employment-focused social media website launched in the early 2000s, the platform has always been dominated by mid-career Gen Xers and elder millennials. LinkedIn users are posting about their job successes, trends in their industries, and commenting on the news, all seemingly immune (and/or totally unaware) of the slick irony or cool of other social media platforms.

Instagram, Twitter and TikTok all boast savvy users who can speak the language of the internet, who inherently understand memes, and who accept that it is gross and weird to be too sincere. 

LinkedIn has none of these people. 

If TikTok is a hot 19-year-old wearing Ganni, LinkedIn is their 50-year-old dad who's infuriatingly confident about his own cultural relevance because he wears a Carhartt jacket and knows who Billie Eilish is.

In other words, LinkedIn is cringe. Cheugy. Verging on internet boomer but without all the rage and love for disinformation.

Whenever you speak about being on LinkedIn to friends, generally, any admittance that someone is using the platform is accompanied by a big sigh of, "I know, but I have to do it for work."

The nauseating sincerity, motivational speak and obsession with career progression on LinkedIn has even spawned satirical accounts like Chad Profitz, an Australian creator who advertises himself as a Sales and Leadership Coach, as well as an "Early investor in Big Mouth Billy Bass".

Profitz captures the humiliating good faith of LinkedIn down to the ground with posts like: 


"Excited to be a part of Tesla and Neuralink's beta trial of a car piloted purely by thought!!

"Also wondering if someone from either company can contact me urgently – I have been circling the same Denny's for 5 hours and can not make it stop – please I have a function to attend."


"I've received many new connections from the Big 4 consulting firms. Very flattered that this is how you all choose to use your prison wifi time."

What everybody knows (and what Profitz has captured to a tee) is that LinkedIn is a deeply lame place on the internet for people whose primary interest is business – and in a world where young people are plagued by issues like wage stagnation, housing crises and impending climate change, there is no good reason they should be interested in it as a social media platform.

But here's the very strange thing: they are.

Increasingly, young people are turning to LinkedIn as the last good place on the internet.

In a recent article on The Cut, Anya Kamenetz explains: "Lately I’ve met adolescents – some who don’t yet meet the platform’s minimum-age requirement of 16 – who say LinkedIn is their happy place. From across the country and every socioeconomic background, these kids describe the platform as a zero-irony zone – a sanctuary from the angry rants, dark humour, thirst traps, and FOMO characteristic of other social-media networks."

While everywhere else on the internet seems to be grasped by toxic negativity, LinkedIn's near-toxic positivity has presented itself as a decent alternative – an arena of congratulatory, smiling interactions, much like Facebook was in the period from around 2007 to 2009, before it was swallowed by clickbait and white supremacists.


In fact, LinkedIn's membership is projected to keep growing for years to come, even as the mass exodus from Meta's Facebook continues – and Kamenetz posits that the growing success of LinkedIn can be attributed to an influx of younger users.

Looking at LinkedIn in all its embarrassing glory, it's easy to understand why some people have come to view it as a beacon of hope on the internet.

Logging into LinkedIn is a relatively neutral experience. As Kamenetz points out, there are no angry rants, and you can walk away from a timeline scroll without the exhausting feelings of self-doubt and upset that seem to come with other platforms.

It's (for the moment) safer than other social media options for younger users because it hasn't developed a dark underbelly. In fact, even considering how this could happen on the platform where everybody's profile photo is a company image of them beaming in a suit is pretty much laughable.

LinkedIn is also a platform that naturally comes with less self-comparison than other social media sites – ones that we know can have profound and devastating impacts on the mental wellbeing of their users.

In 2021, a leak revealed that Meta (the company that owns Instagram and Facebook) had concealed internal research showing that Instagram makes body issues worse for one in three girls using the app. The findings were hidden for two years.


And research has consistently shown that when teenagers step off social media, even for a few weeks, feelings of loneliness and isolation decrease while overall wellbeing shoots up.

Maybe the prevailing success of LinkedIn actually comes down to its signature dearth of cool.

It's difficult to cultivate a brand identity on LinkedIn in the same way that it is on say, X (the platform previously known as Twitter) or Instagram. The bald-faced concentration on jobs and career history exposes the absurdity of defining ourselves by our work. The timeline of employment shows that some of us make career moves with the same frequency that we swap pairs of favourite jeans. And on LinkedIn, you're allowed to just... show off, and people will express genuine happiness for you, as you do for them, in a bizarrely unaffected circle of applause.

Using LinkedIn – much like I imagine it would be to hang out with the daggy parents who live on there – is just kinda easy and fine. 

And maybe in the midst of such dark, turbulent times, LinkedIn is exactly what we deserve.

Little cartoon balloons whenever you start a new job. 

Heart, thumbs-up and laughing reacts only.

Maybe the lamest place on earth is where we all need to end up, eventually.

Elfy Scott is an Executive Editor at Mamamia. 

Calling all gift buyers! Take our survey now to go in the running to win one of four $50 gift vouchers!