Conan O’Brien Doesn’t Think Much of LinkedIn ‘Influencers’

In case Ted Talks didn’t already convince you, CEOs want to be celebrities now. A recent study found that 2/3 of them are open to receiving coaching/media relations tips, and we aren’t going out on too long a limb to suggest that a few have called upon PR to help them write posts for programs like LinkedIn‘s “Influencers”. Why? To demonstrate their own expertise and further establish themselves as leaders/experts/people to whom we should all pay attention.

Conan O’Brien remains skeptical. As part of his campaign to “conquer” LinkedIn, he posted a letter to the community one week ago that mocks the whole idea:

I’ve long dreamed of becoming a LinkedIn Influencer ever since my assistant mentioned it just now. It’s an honor to join the ranks of great leaders like Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson, US President Barack Obama, and total failure Bill Gates. So, what is a LinkedIn Influencer? You tell me. Seriously, please tell me, I have no idea. I’m only here because of pure megalomania, plain and simple.

It’s kind of funny, and he has a valid point: all this “thought leader” stuff starts to blend together quickly, and some have used the fact that Conan quickly moved into the top quarter of “influencers” to question how influential these voices really are. While some have received attention for posting interesting stories like this one about the Panera CEO’s attempt to live on food stamps for a week, we share Conan’s skepticism. For example, LinkedIn once told us that our profile was among the “top 10% most viewed” for 2012 and we never even log on unless it’s to accept somebody’s connection.

How valuable is the influencer movement for clients’ executives? Should PR leaders themselves get onboard?

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