For years, I mostly scorned LinkedIn. I had made a profile early on, but mostly didn’t bother to maintain it. Luckily, I never lost my job at the University, so I didn’t need to look for work. I was kind of surprised when the CIO of the University talked about having used LinkedIn to make connections with employers saying (in effect), “Hey! Did you know you have X number of UMass graduates working for you? Maybe you should be more involved to help with recruitment.” And then some Department told me that LinkedIn was how most of their students found work. I was stunned, because it always seemed like kind of joke or wasteland. Still, I decided to take it a little more seriously and I’ve actually kept my profile more-or-less up-to-date.
With the demise of Twitter, LinkedIn is making a more serious effort to become a social media player. About a year ago, they changed my categorization to reflect that I posted regularly to my news feed. And they invited to join their “authors and writers” group, which I did. Although, as far as I can tell, nobody actually reads any of the stuff people post there. The whole site feels like a place where people post stuff that nobody reads. Most recently, they’ve started inviting me to contribute to “collaborative articles”.
Right around the time they did that, I saw a parody that absolutely nails LinkedIn and their “collaborative articles.”
Today, they wanted me to share “what are the best apps to help you be most productive.” Well, I had something to say about that. In terms of apps to…
Plan and organize your writing projects
In spite of (or perhaps because of) being a technologist for many years, I’m inherently suspicious of apps and use as few as possible. Apps on mobile devices are mostly funded by surveillance capitalism and I would recommend against installing any. I use a text editor for writing (currently Pulsar) — it’s very simple, generates universally readable text-files and offers no distractions.
Block out distractions and stay in the flow
I like to write in fits and starts, so I don’t mind having a browser running alongside my editor and keeping up with social media while I write. Maybe I’m just a weirdo, but I can’t be productive if I’m only writing anyway. Oh, I also listen to K-pop music and stand up and dance when favorite songs come on. Since I don’t speak Korean, I don’t get caught up in the lyrics and its a good idea to get up and move frequently, so it kills two birds with one stone.
Track and improve your writing habits
I hate being tracked. I check word counts as I’m finishing a manuscript for submission, but I don’t like paying attention to things like that otherwise. I also don’t like the structure of having particular blocks of times or a schedule: I write when I want to write and do other stuff when I don’t feel like writing. And I don’t use any apps because they’re mostly evil.
Edit and polish your writing
I do leave a spell check running, though I rarely need it. And my grammar is good enough that the grammar checkers are nearly always wrong for me. I have human beta readers that read early versions of my manuscripts to identify problems with pacing or story structure and then I have an editor to edit my manuscripts before publication. Apps are the devil.
Maybe, after this, they won’t bother to ask me to contribute again. I wouldn’t cry about that.