The Water Cooler: Do Executives Read Different Articles than Workers Do on LinkedIn?

December 19, 2019

LinkedIn Water Cooler

For this edition of the Water Cooler, we wanted to see if executives are engaging with different articles than the people who report to them. So for the month of November, we examined which articles professionals who have the title of Director or above are engaging with on LinkedIn compared with what professionals who have titles below Director are engaging with on the platform.

Here’s what we found: There are many similarities but also a few important differences in the Top 10 articles engaging executives and workers.

First, the similarities. The top three articles for both groups were exactly the same, with BusinessInsider.com’s take on Microsoft’s experiment with four-day workweek holding down the top spot grabbing the attention of both bosses and their direct reports. In fact, eight of the top 10 articles this month were the same for both executives and workers.

Now, the differences. These two articles appeared only in the top 10 for Directors and above:

And below are the two articles that appeared only in the top 10 for professionals who held titles below Director (Note that more than one take on Microsoft’s four-day workweek experiment appeared in the Top 10 for both executives and workers):   

Top 10 Most Engaging Articles for Director and Above

  1. Microsoft Experimented with a 4-Day Workweek, and Productivity Jumped by 40% By Lisa Eadicicco, BusinessInsider.com
  2. Loyal Boyfriend who Stuck with Girlfriend During Breast Cancer Proposes on her Last Day of Chemo By Robert Jay Watson, The Epoch Times
  3. This F*cking Meetings Candle Smells Like This Could Have Been an Email, and We're Losing It By Simone Torn, PopSugar
  4. The Most Important Skill in the Future will be the Ability to Connect the Dots — in Your Own Way! By Fabio Moioli
  5. Beware of These 3 Thoughts on the Path to Putting Yourself Out There By Carlii Lyon
  6. The Original Volkswagen Beetle Repurposed to Create a Fashionably Old-Fashioned Mini Bike! By Srishti Mitra, Yanko Design
  7. Shinola Names the Company's First Female CEO By JC Reindel, Detroit Free Press
  8. REI is Defying Black Friday and Closing its Stores for the 5th Year in a Row — and it Wants Shoppers to Join its Plan to Fight Climate Change By Bethany Biron, BusinessInsider.com
  9. Microsoft Japan Experiments with 3-Day Weekend, Productivity Increases by Nearly 40 Percent By David Aaro, FoxNews
  10. The World Has Gone Mad and the System Is Broken By Ray Dialo

Top 10 Most Engaging Articles for Below Director

  1. Microsoft Experimented with a 4-Day Workweek, and Productivity Jumped by 40% By Lisa Eadicicco, BusinessInsider.com
  2. Loyal Boyfriend who Stuck with Girlfriend During Breast Cancer Proposes on her Last Day of Chemo By Robert Jay Watson, The Epoch Times
  3. This F*cking Meetings Candle Smells Like This Could Have Been an Email, and We're Losing It By Simone Torn, PopSugar
  4. Microsoft Japan Experiments with 3-Day Weekend, Productivity Increases by Nearly 40 Percent By David Aaro, FoxNews
  5. Four-day Workweek Boosted Productivity by 40%, Microsoft Japan Experiment Shows By Kazuaki Nagata, The Japan Times
  6. The Most Important Skill in the Future will be the Ability to Connect the Dots — in Your Own Way! By Fabio Moioli
  7. Coca-Cola to Replace Plastic Shrink Wrap with Paper Packaging across Europe By the Edie Newsroom
  8. Beware of These 3 Thoughts on the Path to Putting Yourself Out There By Carlii Lyon
  9. REI is Defying Black Friday and Closing its Stores for the 5th Year in a Row — and it Wants Shoppers to Join its Plan to Fight Climate Change By Bethany Biron, BusinessInsider.com
  10. The Original Volkswagen Beetle Repurposed to Create a Fashionably Old-Fashioned Mini Bike! By Srishti Mitra, Yanko Design

Lessons for Salespeople

Because of top three and so many of the top 10 articles were the same for both executives and workers, we surmise that the articles that are the most engaging on LinkedIn speak directly to our common humanity, no matter what our job title. The top three posts on both lists have broad appeal: an experiment that may usher in a 3-day weekend, a touching human interest story about love overcoming cancer, and humorous take on the widespread malady of too many meetings. 

The most interesting difference in these Top 10 lists was the number of times stories about Microsoft Japan's experiment with the four-day workweek appeared. It landed on the Director and Above List twice and on the Below Director list three times, which, perhaps not surprisingly, suggests that one group is more excited about a shorter workweek than the other. 

Ultimately, thought, the fact that most of the posts are the same on both lists speaks to the prevalence of ambition. Professionals on LinkedIn don’t necessarily read for the job they have. They read for the job they want.

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