I Tried To Find Out How Many Thought Leaders Are on LinkedIn. I'm Still in Shock

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Many people are headed to the beaches.

They’re running away, desperate to get a little rest and a few rays of hope.

I live in California, however. 

We have an overabundance of beaches, sun and hope. 

So I have to look elsewhere for respite and inspiration. 

Which is why a thought popped into my mind and took the lead over all the other thoughts hovering there.

The thought is:  How many thought leaders are there on LinkedIn?

I wanted answers, so I took the simple first step. I inserted the phrase Thought Leader into the LinkedIn search box.

I wasn’t sure how many people had designated themselves Thought Leaders

Truly, I’m not sure I know what one is, save for a pair of words that purportedly makes you sound interesting.

Well, what a surprise. 

My search for Thought Leader brought up 306,531 results.

There are that many of these precious people? Have they all done TED Talks? That would be 4,597,965 minutes of TED Talk, if the average length was 15 minutes.

That would be far more thoughtful leadership that there’s been in Congress for the last 10 years. No, 20.

I want to know that thoughts these 306,531 people have had. I want to know how many people they’ve led to superior thinking. 

There should be a scoreboard that ranks Thought Leaders according to their Big Think score.

I regret to say that, stunned from having performed this search, I didn’t stop.

Next was a search for Guru

I stopped breathing for several hundred seconds when I saw LinkedIn throw up 474,602 people.

It takes quite some estimation of one’s own self-worth to self-designate as a guru.

I should add, of course, that Guru is a first name, so this may mean there are still more Thought Leaders than, you know, Gurus.

Still, I was now emboldened beyond control.

I searched Visionary.

Oh, Lordy. That threw up 293,537 results. Which seems a little short-sighted on the Imaginative Title scale.

People on LinkedIn really think a lot of themselves, though, don’t they?

So I searched Successful.

I braced myself for the result.

5,641,454 people or entities responded to that description.

They can’t have all been guided by one of the mere 160,138 people on LinkedIn who are entitled Business Coach, can they?

I tried Inspirational Leader.

Pah, a mere 57,874 results. Now we’re getting to the heart of the issue. A lot more people think they’re Thought Leaders Than Inspirational ones.

Doesn’t that tell you something about those who write self-help books?

I was numb from all this excellence. I wanted to email Tony Robbins to ask him what he thought all this meant.

Instead, I girded myself for one more push.

There was only one search left to make. There was one search that would surely reveal those who truly knew themselves, those who bathed in reality, rather than puffery.

I searched Idiot.

A mere 7,907 results. 

Please, I know that these searches have a few flaws.

I know that my Idiot search includes those who work at Idiot’s Guide, those who perform Idiot tests and those who come up for no apparent reason whatsoever, save that LinkedIn’s algorithm seems to think they have some connection with idiocy.

Still, I’m the sort of idiot who wants to find moments of amusement amid a cavern of bloviation. 

So, for the next week, I’ll contemplate the fact that there may be 60 times more people who think they’re Thought Leaders than think they’re Idiots.

Why do I think it should be the other way around?

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