Some days ago, I logged in to my LinkedIn® account to find a rude surprise. Prominently displayed near my name and headline was the logo of one of my employers – with a small change. Their usual logo had been replaced by a special “Pride Month” logo. Like anyone else using the internet during this month, I was aware of the fact that celebrations of the LGBTQ+ social and political agenda were going to be everywhere for the next few weeks. The fact that my own professional profile would be associated with ideologies repugnant to me was not something I had expected. Anyone who has accidentally sent an instantly-regretted text or accidentally posted an embarrassing picture to social media knows what it’s like to feel that you aren’t being portrayed to others in the way you want. The feeling of powerlessness when our freedom of expression is compromised, even temporarily and through our own agency, is surprisingly potent.
Immediately, I sent the following email (some changes made to protect privacy) to the Human Resources department of my employer:
“…My concern is regarding the decision of Company XYZ to change their logo to reflect the company’s apparent support of Pride Month. While I assume that the logo change is temporary for the month of June, I wish to voice my opinion all the same, as the logo appears prominently on my LinkedIn® profile.
I feel that having this logo appear without my consent on a professional platform is an unauthorized assignment of political and moral allegiance to an employee. I believe that employees should be able to reserve the right to expression of their own world view, apart from the companies they work for, and that professional platforms such as LinkedIn are not the appropriate place to co-opt employee support for any policy whatsoever.
Accordingly, I would ask that a non-Pride company logo be made available for employees to use during this month. I trust that this option will be made available in the interests of true inclusion.
I greatly appreciate your attention and consideration…”
My email was promptly forwarded to the company’s global director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In a cordially worded email, I was informed that disassociation from the company’s group page on LinkedIn® for the month of June was the only apparent solution. The inability of my employer to control “the functionality of third party platforms” was presented as the basic obstacle to any more satisfactory resolution. While I appreciate the forthrightness and politeness of my employers, I am by no means placated by the answer I have been given, and intend to take my complaint to LinkedIn® itself. However, since LinkedIn® has also changed their logo for the month, I am hardly more hopeful about their response. LinkedIn®’s answer may well be that those with my convictions have no place on professional networking sites, and by extension, the community in general. Sadly, this is the message that has been sent to many social conservatives, as more tech companies embrace views antithetical to traditional social norms. This exclusion of conservative voices has lead to the rise of “free speech” social media alternatives such as the Parler app and alternative journalism outlets such as the Epoch Times, as well as struggles to find video hosting services willing to facilitate dissemination of conservative content.
Although main-stream media alternatives have come fraught with their own difficulties and limitations, it may well be time for a similar shift in the professional realm. A conservative alternative to networking sites such as LinkedIn® is certainly appealing, as the inability of social media platforms to maintain neutrality and allow for real diversity of thought becomes increasingly undeniable.
Conservatives deserve freedom of expression in the workplace and on platforms integral to their professional development. How to best achieve this is an important question that will need to be addressed. I look forward to keeping readers updated on the status of my quest to bring these issues to the attention of platform management as the situation develops, as well as continuing to unpack the larger issues at play. In the meantime, stay strong.