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Language is essential in allowing us to analyze and make sense of our everyday lives. The development and increased use of social media now means that the way language is structured online can facilitate communication; however, it can also hinder communication. This chapter examines LinkedIn as an example of an online platform which uses verbal and visual linguistic expressions to aid communication. A number of linguistic theories and their impact on LinkedIn as a social media platform are examined. LinkedIn, and its use of user profiles, has been chosen over other social media because it encapsulates the majority of theories presented. The theories are strongly linked to the linguistic background appropriate for the online environment and recommendations and discussions are presented.
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Chapter 11
A Semantic Approach
to LinkedIn Proles:
Critical Analysis and Insights
Language is essential in allowing us to analyze and make sense of our everyday lives. The development
and increased use of social media now means that the way language is structured online can facilitate
communication; however, it can also hinder communication. This chapter examines LinkedIn as an ex-
ample of an online platform which uses verbal and visual linguistic expressions to aid communication.
A number of linguistic theories and their impact on LinkedIn as a social media platform are examined.
LinkedIn, and its use of user profiles, has been chosen over other social media because it encapsulates
the majority of theories presented. The theories are strongly linked to the linguistic background appro-
priate for the online environment and recommendations and discussions are presented.
There are a number of theories and debates about
the origin of language. For example, during
the Age of Enlightenment’ Denis Diderot and
Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed the existence
of language resulted from natural laws. Other
philosophers believed that the human need for
communication lead to the creation and evolution
of language. This belief was based on a particular
approach to evolution and human development.
Some schools of thought adopted the Darwinian
theory of evolution which suggests language de-
veloped as part of the human evolutionary process.
Ilias Kapareliotis
Abertay Dundee University, UK
Patricia Crosbie
Abertay Dundee University, UK
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5194-4.ch011
A Semantic Approach to LinkedIn Proles
However, even in contemporary society, most
theories trying to explain language and its func-
tions support the descriptive narrative. Niemitz
(2004), however, rejects both these theories for
a number of different reasons. For example, he
argues the different theories supporting linguistic
evolution of human beings are based mainly on
the effort to:
1. Explain the origin of language.
2. Explain the origin of life.
3. Explain the origin of human species, and
4. Explain the origin of language along with
other symbolic forms.
Jean Piaget supported the theory that linguistic
and other human abilities are features of self-
organisation and that the evolutionary process has
been supported by the development of language.
This theory describes the dynamics of language,
human evolution and human life in general. How-
ever, no matter what theory or approach is adopted
there is general agreement that the systems leading
to evolution are highly sophisticated and are, by
nature, autonomous. The main issue that has to
explored, as language evolves, is the stability of
the system and the interaction between the system,
society and each individual human being. In ad-
dition, the complexity language imposes means
there are other important considerations such as
the changing nature of complexity itself, the bar-
riers complexity creates and the possible risks the
nature of the complexity creates. The LinkedIn
community or society, as it evolves day by day,
adopts structures and cultural approaches based
on the above theories, but they have developed in
a different manner. For example, the professional
and visual nature of the LinkedIn society has
tended to create an efficient and contemporary
language based on:
1. Professional needs
2. Social needs
3. Sophistication of the actual online envi-
ronment which is greater than the one that
Facebook or other similar networks are of-
fering to their users.
All the above considerations stem from social
coexistence and evolutionary approaches which
do not depend on the era and the verbal code in
which the users are operating or have adopted.
However, comparative behavioural research
reveals that many cognitive and communicative
skills were pre-existing and thus contributed to
the emergence of language. Contemporary neu-
roscience also questions Darwin’s evolutionary
theory which proposes that at the initial stages
of evolution and language development human
beings initially used signal calls and then eventu-
ally language developed or evolved. LinkedIn uses
almost the same approach demonstrating that that
the evolution of the human being and society has
to to be at the focus any type of electronic activity
especially when different linguistic approaches are
used. Modern biology also supports the theory
that evolutionary change, in terms of language,
is dependant on cultural reforms and belonging.
Both mean that Darwin’s theory should not be
absolutely accepted when trying to explain the
different skills and knowledge that humans develop
when adopting certain communication patterns
or approaches.
In addition, the relationship between semiot-
ics and the development of language is under
researched which means its impact on the de-
velopment of language is not fully understood.
Darwin proposed language evolved according to
the language of the sexual partner’s language or
according to the language of the family group.
However, this is not the full picture because the
A Semantic Approach to LinkedIn Proles
impact of semiotics was not considered by Darwin.
Understanding of the evolution of language and
linguistic aptitudes has developed since the 18th
Century and, because there have been no studies
of human beings who do not possess any linguistic
abilities, Darwin’s hypotheses must be considered
incomplete. It is also possible that there are a
number of genetic factors which will affect the
mature language capacity and which will have an
impact on the language a child acquires through
being a member of a particular social group or
family. (Szathmary, 2006). An additional theory
was proposed in 18th century by the French phi-
losopher Rousseau who supported the view that
language developed as interest in music and the
arts developed.
Τhe evolution of language was also researched
by Fitch (2005) who focused on the abstract core
computational operations central to language
which are unique to humans. When communica-
tion takes place in a social environment the coher-
ence of the narrative has mainly to do with the
semantics the language is using and the way the
language works in a social environment as well
as within an already established linguistic system.
The origin of language, both biologically and
socially, contributes to the understanding of how
the evolution of language has to be considered
when studying the language of social media.
Communication in LinkedIn is based on the global
evolution of language so the way different societies
communicate, or at least how this communication
is created, or could be created, through social
media should be considered. This is especially
appropriate considering the diversity of users of
social network tools such as LinkedIn. Despite the
different theories about the origin and evolution
of language there should be an understanding of
how it has developed and continues to develop and
how users create efficient and pragmatic linguistic
codes in the social media world. The visual or
verbal linguistic codes adopted will influence the
behaviour of the users, and the overall approach
businesses will take regarding social media. How-
ever, whether it is used for business purposes or
not social media has the potential to contribute
to business growth especially when the language
adopted is the most appropriate for this case.
Language is organised into discrete units and
shows a clear distinction between significant and
signifie (Saussure. 1966). The study of signs sys-
tems which is the basis of semiotic theory tries to
explain the different sign systems in relation how
they convey meaning. Semiotics takes the view
that signs convey meaning or can be organised
within various media to form different types of
texts each conveying a meaning. According to
Saussure (1966) in order to convey a meaning
words consist of two different distinct parts: the
‘signified’ conveying the meaning that the word
gives to different meanings and the ‘signifier’
which is the part of the word representing the
meaning. Saussure considered both components
as interlinked and interrelated. The signified is the
concept existing in our minds and it is what we
want to communicate. This concept is different
from one person to another because it is based on
different variables such as past experiences, im-
pressions, feelings etc. The signifier, on the other
hand, represents the concept as it is commonly
met in society or in the world generally. The most
common example Saussure gave in order to define
these two concepts is the example of the tree. The
signifier of the tree is different for each one of us
but an oak would be described as a tree to someone
brought up in the United Kingdom. The signifier
and the signified combined make what we would
term a sign. Saussure explains that a sign is what
someone experiences when someone comes into
contact with a set of stimuli that can be equated to
a mental concept. Hjelmslev (1961) also explains
that the signifier is the physical phenomenon which
are part of the sign and the signified the meaning
represented by the physical phenomena.
A Semantic Approach to LinkedIn Proles
Peirce (1931-1958) developed a totally different
conception of the sign which predates Saussure’s
approach. For him signs are a phenomenological
approach to consciousness. Three different kinds
of phenomenological experience provide the
background to his conception of signification. The
concept of firstness for Pierce is predominant in a
language. This concept encapsulates the primary
and ideal experience of a phenomenon without
reference to any other subject. When we are un-
able to describe something that we have seen or
heard then we are at the firstness stage. In other
words, when we are at the firstness stage we are
able to describe different types of experiences that
we are unable to describe from the social context
in which we live. Secondness, is the stage where
we become different or we feel different this is
the ‘us’ as differentiated from the ‘not us.’ The
next stage is ‘thirdness’ where a representation
rendered in some kind of medium which we can
encounter and interpret and mentally make the
object which the representation is referring to.
The process of something ‘standing for some
other thing’ is managed and interpreted by human
minds. Some aspects of this stage include recall as
well as recognition of the objects and the meaning
associated with them. Peirce therefore proposes
the conception of a sign has three different parts:
1. The object
2. The representamen
3. The interpretant
The object of a sign is what it represents and
language is referred to by the representation of the
representamen. This process relies on the mental
process linking the experience of the object with
the experience of the representamen e.g. a car
standing in for a real car. According to Peirce
language isn’t so much a concern as it was for
Saussure, he is much more concerned with the
categorisation of the phenomenal qualities of
different types of signs. Based on his notions of
firstness, secondness and thirdness he developed
three notions:
1. The icon
2. The index
3. The symbol
Icons are signs which represent their objects
via a direct likeness or similarity. Icons, for ex-
ample, have features resembling the objects they
represent. Indices ‘indicate’ something and are
linked to the concept of secondness. There is
obviously a direct link between the object and the
sign. A clear connection between the signifier and
the signified can also be identified. Symbols or
symbolic signs refer to objects by virtue of a law
of socially derived rules. Peirce, like Saussure,
recognises symbolic signs as conventional signs
and strongly related to the notion of thirdness.
Symbolic signs are not, however, related to their
object other than via the accepted conventions
agreed in a cultural system or society. Basically
these are signs which have an arbitrary relation-
ship to their objects.
The popularity of LinkedIn and the necessity
for a professional network means there is a need
for a combination of indices, symbols, and objects
within an online environment. Social media sites
such as LinkedIn recruit members worldwide so
there is a need for a holistic linguistic approach
based both in symbols, icons, or indices, because
words do not have same meaning in all languages
or cultures. The extended use of the English lan-
guage and globalisation has, however, allowed this
transformation to become easier. Saussure’s theory
has, unexpectedly, been adapted to an extent. In
some cases the visual representations of differ-
ent LinkedIn profiles can ‘talk’ or communicate
more than the written ones. The user can ‘seethe
person, or the organisation’s logo in the profile.
This limits the potential for misunderstandings
A Semantic Approach to LinkedIn Proles
as messages are not omitted. In most of the cases
LinkedIn profiles use clear simple words so the
messages can be easily understood and the viewer
has a clear image of what the profile owner is trying
to convey. Based on Saussure’s conceptualisation
of language a new user or a new member may
find it hard to escape from the verbal and visual
representation because the main guidelines for a
new entry in the network recommend that both
words and images are important. The use of im-
age as well as words to communicate ideas is now
also the societal norm so cannot be ignored as
language is a system stemming from the world or
society itself. In most of the cases when business
organisations are using LinkedIn as a networking
tool they try to use words and icons equally. This
practise is likely to continue so Saussure’s theory
that signs can convey meaning is still fundamental
for both new users as well as existing ones as any
profile created will most likely use social and
business as well as personal styles as a means of
verbalising or transmitting messages.
Umberto Eco (1976) developed different se-
miotic branches from both Peirce and Saussure.
Eco’s definition of the sign takes into account
social, cultural and other contextual issues which
underlie every instance of the sign’s use. Eco
suggests that semiotics is coding and decoding
messages with reference to cultural conventions
or codes. This new aspect of semiotics of a so-
ciocultural nature, and the importance of context
in evaluating meaning, are central to his theory.
Eco’s theory is more dynamic than the others as
the different semantic aspects of signification take
into account the circumstances in which speech is
produced producing dependant denotations and
connotations. In order to understand a sign Eco
supports the reader’s need to be in possession of
the meaning or the correct code.
Saussure was the first who supported that
meaning derives from different relationships
created in society rather than only through the
simplistic approach of the signifier and the signi-
fied. However, the overall relationships created
in both cases operate in the syntagnatic and the
paradigmatic dimensions.
Syntagms are combinations of signs put to-
gether and organised with the aim of producing
a meaningful whole. Sentences, for example, are
syntagmatic as they are ordered combinations
of signs written one after the other with the aim
of producing a meaningful statement. Paradigm
semiotics are a group of signifiers or signifiers
associated in some way with one another or are
members of the same overreaching category e.g.
synonyms. The semiotic analysis of paradigms
concentrates on aspects of substitution particularly
on connotations deriving from the associated
words being alternatives to the associated word.
The combinations which can be exploited mean
LinkedIn members can communicate clearly and
efficiently. Thus, the network becomes more ef-
ficient more approachable, and more language ori-
ented rather than being a simplistic representation
of one or another (language or visualisation). The
presentation of linguistic theories and approaches
aims to put into context the LinkedIn fundamen-
tal approach of linguistic representations. Such
representations are important in achieving the
LinkedIn’s main objective of efficient online
communication. Whatever linguistic approach
that is adopted LinkedIn must ensure it does not
loose members because of poor or inefficient
Meaning and Semiotics
In semiotic theory important concepts appear to
include denotation, the connotation and the Meta
language. Denotation refers to a relationship
between the signifier and the signified which
should be unambiguous. Lack of ambiguity may
stem from culturally agreed situations in which a
sign is given a definition or the meaning is easily
A Semantic Approach to LinkedIn Proles
understandable (Chandler, 2002). Connotation is
mainly considered as a secondary level of signifi-
cation occurring when a denotative sign is taken
as the signifier for another signified.
Metalanguage presented firstly by Barthes and
Hjelmsev (1972) represents an aspect of signifi-
cation occurring when an initial denotative sign
is taken as the signifier of a different signifier.
Metaphor and connotation are closely related due
to the fact that they are both aspects of a second
level of signification. The metaphorical relation-
ship between the different linguistic domains may,
therefore, refer to the same notion or concept.
These notions are quite useful as they offer the
platform for additional meanings far beyond de-
notative principles, overcoming different cultural
or any other codes which individuals deliberately
accept. Connotations and metaphors are not fixed
or standard meanings, they depend entirely on
the contexts and circumstances in which codes
are brought to bear on interpreting sign vehicles.
Barthes (1972, 1977) was also interested in the
communication process. In his work he shows
how texts are messages sent from an author to
a reader. These messages are vulnerable to any
type of noise or miscommunication as well as to
the reader’s understanding of the message. Based
on Barthes theory the message’s interpretation
relies entirely on the reader’s interpretation and
the meaning that the reader will give to the mes-
sage. According to Barthes contextualisation, the
interpretation of the message or the text maybe
ambiguous, and therefore, open to different inter-
pretations. Barthes was looking to create the ideas
of the speech independently in a more focussed
manner than Saussure. The deconstruction of
texts, however, still remains important as most of
the time meaning is associated with context and a
more contextual approach of what both parts said
or communicated.
The theory Saussure developed attempted to
identify the elements of the interactive media in-
terface as aspects as signs. The physical screen’0s
characteristics, for example, provide the meaning
for different signifiers to be represented during
different kinds and forms of interactions. This
approach, although it may seem simplistic, makes
a start to the interpretation of the different inter-
actions that exist in the interactive social media
in use today. The interactivity of social media is
mainly enhanced by Barthes work which takes into
account the contextualisation and interpretation
of the meaning without having to convert artifacts
of meaning. Interactive media interfaces contain
paradigmatic structures articulated into syntagms
through user interaction. The forms and structure
of digital signs, according to Hjelmslev’s theory,
provide the forms of expression. For example,
colours on the screen, different shapes and struc-
ture are all forms of expression. The form of the
content the text is the structure. Most significa-
tions found on screen - based media are designed
to denote something. The layers of meaning in a
desktop, for example, can contextualise different
signs overall according to what the user can un-
derstand as the meaning of these signs or how the
user uses or experiences these signs. The media’s
interactivity can be more easily understood by
understanding what the metaphor is. This notion
of symbolic signs is very central to the interac-
tive media. For example, windows aren’t iconic
representations of actual windows but symbolic
representations of the window concept. For Pates
et al. (2000) a computer interface is a ‘one shot
message’ sent from the designer to the user. The
concept here is very important as the approach
offers a deep understanding into why interactive
media are screen based. The interaction between
the author/designer and the reader/user leads to a
more engaging and interactive approach. Semiotics
then becomes something deeper rather than simply
an explanation of interactive signs. The meaning or
the utility explored has to do with usability evalu-
ation and the user’s experience. The interactivity
doesn’t fully engage with the meaning itself and
the different users interpretation.
Undoubtedly, interpretation is important to
the understanding of interactive media hence the
A Semantic Approach to LinkedIn Proles
semiotic concept of codes is much more relevant
to the understanding of how interactive media
works. Interactive media then become texts that
can be decoded or recorded normally. It is, how-
ever, important to notice that cultural codes do
not interlink with semiotic codes in the way they
could be used.
Using Semiotics to Decode Screen
Media and Social Networks
The presentation of semiotic theories and ap-
proaches aims to present the way that commu-
nication may work in a digitalised environment.
Overall, semiotic theory aims to understand the
structural properties of interactive screen based
media. Most common applications included in
this theory are graphic designs, visual images
and films. The most commonly used screen based
media are television, video and film. The tech-
nological revolution including the Internet and
media such as YouTube has meant the use of the
television and the Personal Computer (PC) has
overlapped. Television is now used for interactive
advertising and on demand programming. As me-
dia convergence evolves the boundaries between
the PC and television will continue to be more
blurred. This media revolution has also changed
the cultural differences between nations as they
move from the use of paper media to televisual
media for entertainment. Despite the increased
use of PCs around the world use is still focused
on text based activities basically word processors.
The print medium remains due to the static page
the reader had in front and the simplistic structure
and the graphic images. Interactive media still has
static elements such as fonts, colours, etc. but web
pages have graphics and banner advertisements
which attract the user.
The purpose of the static or non static ele-
ments is to provide a signifier(s) for some ele-
ment of functionality in the device used. It has
to be acknowledged this is not always the case
as graphics or other signifiers do not work with
plain linear text. The signifiers may change mean-
ing, use or context according to the way the user
perceives and interacts with them, this is due to
the graphical elements and the need to interpret
them. McQuarrie and Mick (1996) tried to explore
the deviations of advertising images operating at
different levels. They tried to focus on understand-
ing user responses when decoding different types
of images based on particular complexity levels.
Bertin (1997, 1983) developed a system based on
the eye function in relation to visualizing quantifi-
able data where the user was given the option to
decode the different signs according to his or her
different interpretations while dealing with the
whole digital context. Therefore the most common
semiotic or coding approaches in an interactive
media environment could be
1. Visual Grammar
2. Moving Images
Most of the time both are used interchange-
ably and users tend to subconsciously use them
one after the other or even both at the same time.
LinkedIn, one of the most successful social media
in the world, attributes its success to the adop-
tion of linguistic theories per se, but also to the
visualisation and the moving images they mostly
offer the users. LinkedIn differs from other social
media sites as all the above principles are adopted
and the user doesn’t rely on only visual or non
visual aspects, but on both.
LinkedIn was founded in 2003 and aimed to be the
most popular business and personal social media
in the world it was launched before Facebook
or other similar social media. LinkedIn’s main
concept was to create a communication environ-
ment to support professional people to overcome
the obstacle of physical distance. The launch of
A Semantic Approach to LinkedIn Proles
LinkedIn was very successful mainly for individu-
als not only looking for better career opportuni-
ties but also wanting to exchange ideas, common
interests and to discuss professional practice. The
network is strictly a business network and people
present themselves in a professional manner.
The success of LinkedIn has meant that business
organisations now also create LinkedIn profiles.
Different companies now have LinkedIn profiles
not for commercial purposes but for information
purposes only. The companies are trying to have
an online presence via the different links created.
Different groups have adopted this practise and
LinkedIn has now become a global communication
tool for professionals. LinkedIn earns income from
the business subscriptions and subscriptions from
other groups but it remains free for individuals.
LinkedIn’s share price is buoyant indicating good
performance and is a very attractive investment.
LinkedIn also has a strategy of taking over other
companies operating online.
The manner in which LinkedIn profiles are cre-
ated fits in with theories about linguistic develop-
ment and specifically Eco’s theories. The profiles
have the same layout and, where the subscriber is
a simple member, the same information is given.
The layout is simple and the signifiers are therefore
clear to the viewer. As a personal profile aims to
inform other professionals most users include in-
formation about the position they presently hold.
The communication of the message is clear and
very much supported in terms of what the viewer
can learn about the subscriber. At this point the
information is strictly professional and there is
an assumption that the users update their profile
information especially regarding job title or oc-
cupation. The viewer is constantly reminded that
the profile is for network purposes and the number
of connections appear on the right hand side of
the webpage exactly where the viewer expects to
see them. In addition the connections or links are
identified by a bright colour – usually blue. The
viewer can easily view the different connections
the professional has and by clicking on the con-
nections the viewer begins a ‘journey’ through the
profiles of other known or unknown professionals.
The ‘new’ connection can also view the same
profiles the original user can view. This ‘journey’
may lead to another new professional friendship or
connection. The ‘journey’ cannot be predicted by
the viewer or by the person who owns the profile
viewed or even the original LinkedIn user because
in some cases the viewer either does not view all
the information in all the profiles or information
may be missing or poorly presented. The process
relies entirely on the viewer interpreting and ac-
cepting a profile as acceptable or not in order to
proceed. Most of the time the explanation and the
information is given by other people linked to the
particular user so more information is available
to the additional users. The visual testimonies
of the others use additional information or use
additional visual representations. The wording
of every LinkedIn profile is supported by the
strong visual codes described by Saussure these
are the ‘pictures’ of a professional nature. All the
semiotic approach starting with the photograph
of the user and the important or necessary infor-
mation at the top of the LinkedIn profile aims to
create a short curriculum vitae approach to ensure
there is no misunderstanding from the employer’s
point of view. The words used here are standard
and in most of the cases repetitive. Words such
as awards, previous employment or other guid-
ing ones permitting to the user a freedom up to a
certain extent. The wording is usually in English
and is not much different among profiles no matter
the user’s country of origin is or where the user
works. Semiotics like the different images that the
user may want to include are very much welcomed
from the users of the social media, also in some
cases, the representation seems compulsorily in
order to convey messages that words cannot. In
cases where the user is not necessarily looking
A Semantic Approach to LinkedIn Proles
for another professional position the professional
photograph still appears. The reasons for this are
as follows:
1. Confirmation of the user’s professional
2. Indicating a potential interest for anything
new that may come up.
3. A robust profile of the user both in terms of
the wording and the imaging.
4. Sophistication in the profile of the user.
5. A professional approach and presence into
a professional network, where similar codes
have to be shared between the members of
the network and the potential users.
The problem at the moment is that all LinkedIn
profiles have the same approach to the photographs
used which ensures there is sufficient space for
the viewer to view the photograph but which
may exclude part of of the network. This may be
because of a generalisation on the users’ part of
viewing LinkedIn as a common network and not
as a separate network.
The linguistic signs that the user puts in this
part tend to be simplistic and clear from the point
of view of the viewer. This helps the viewer to
identify whether or not the profile is of interest.
This also leaves space for the user to create per-
sonal identity through the use of language and the
adoption of linguistic terms which they have to be:
1. Attractive for the viewer and himself.
2. Interesting for the viewers mainly.
3. In line with the viewer’s opinions ideas or
professional approaches.
4. In accordance with offline everyday life’s
codes and especially with a more sophisti-
cated approach than the real life one as the
profile is viewed by thousands of people
every day.
There is also a sending message option which
aims to create direct communication between
the viewer and the owner of the profile so any
misunderstanding or other problems in any type
of communication may be directly resolved. So,
again, this is an example of the application of
Saussure’s theories. The main approach, according
to Saussure’s theories, is that the communication
at the first part of the profile should be as clear
as possible so both the viewer and the user can
guarantee to all the members of the network, or
potential users, that although the signifiers or the
signifies may be different overall the emphasis
is the direct communication between the viewer
and user. Adopting this principle the user may be
reassured that:
1. The communication is effective.
2. There is respect for the basic social media
communication rules.
3. There is insufficient space for misunder-
standings or for different semantic ap-
proaches from the codes users share between
The linguistic possibilities a potential user or
an existing one can utilise in terms of language
are different. Due to the professional character of
LinkedIn, the majority of users use the English
language. However, this means in some cases there
may not be a clear and unambiguous view of the
‘real’ professional experience, because, as in some
cases, the translation suffers from overlaps between
the mother language and English. Overall, the
contextual problem here is that the viewer or the
user does not simply have to overcome common
communication problems but must also create a
linguistic system which has important characteris-
tics both for the viewer and the user. The problem
with combining an efficient linguistic code both
in the mother language and a second language in
A Semantic Approach to LinkedIn Proles
some case creates confusion in the way that the
profile has to be interpreted from a semantic point
of view. Contrary to the different perceptions or
interpretations that different profiles in different
languages may have the photograph still remains
the principal indicator of the networks approach
and profile, as the denoted signs according to the
semiotic theory are much more stronger and much
more efficient for all users.
The different activities of the user are presented
semantically through the approach the user has
created in terms of networking. The linguistic ap-
proach is very much standardised and managed by
LinkedIn itself in terms of what can be shown or
not. The activity has clear performance indicators
for individuals as well as groups. Indirectly, the
activity also advertises different profiles, different
persons and different professional opportunities.
The semantics are enhanced by colours making it
clear that only the profile and the characteristics
of the person are shown to the profile’s viewer.
The background section of the profile has dif-
ferent linguistic approaches so surprisingly the
viewer may experience different codes of com-
munication. However, the main semantic rules that
all users share could be summarised as follows:
Scientific linguistics must use clear terms.
Professional experience and different com-
panies names to be communicated.
Important facts and figures thus supported
Signifiers that the user uses such as abbre-
viations must be clear.
There should be a focus on the profiler’s
capabilities skills and a standardised ap-
proach of what professionalism means in
different industries.
Any other information the viewer consid-
ers important must be presented in a pro-
fessional linguistic style which can be un-
derstood by different kinds of professionals
either same or different industry.
Overall, this part includes a free linguistic
approach and different connotations have been
found. It’s entirely up to the viewer and the user
to decode the language according to the different
sociocultural and linguistic background available.
It is important to note that the profiles can have
a number of different variations in terms of the
sections included and the wording used. Hence we
could conclude that there are different linguistic
approaches depending on the following:
The industry the user is a member of.
The research the user has undertaken.
The current position the user holds.
The user’s academic qualifications.
The viewers the user targets.
The message the viewer wants to send.
The overall attitude towards the networks
the user has.
The importance of the speech meanings
and semantics in the user’s everyday life.
The only standardised wording on LinkedIn
is the Studies Undertaken and the Academic
Qualifications sections so the signifier signi-
fies exactly what it is meant. The user is free to
choose any words or communication or language
out with the standardised sections. This is where
the user will try to enhance the profile itself so
the communication should be clear. The user’s
preferences should also be clear when signs or
logos from different companies are put in place.
In this case the language is usually rich both in
terms of linguistic signs, symbols and speech.
No matter the type it is also supported by a more
vibrant approach via colour or design of the logos.
Any additional information comes deliberately
from the user and the profile now relies entirely
on the user. Most of the time the profile follows
a certain outline or format which is very similar
to the other members of the group. Again some
standard headlines assist the user to articulate a
more standardised language or to make the profile
A Semantic Approach to LinkedIn Proles
clear to all the viewers whether or not they join
the network or if they send a request to be linked
in with the other members. The discourse could
be characterised as common wording and almost
typical or stereotyped depending on the country
where the profile has been created. The profile
also advertises different companies to the user to
follow without any wording or any other linguistic
approach. Overall the LinkedIn company tries to
subsidise words with images or photographs. All
profiles are now created and built up with the new
visualisation approach that all social media adopt.
The skills and expertise of the user are supported
with photos of users having been endorsed by the
user. So at this point, LinkedIn adopts a common
strategy used by all other social media or contact
Overall the communication approach LinkedIn
users try to adopt is one that maintains the standard
of the group they belonging to and the different
approaches recommended by the company itself
such as the use of images, photographs or any
other communication signs that may give strong
indicators of the linguistic approaches all users
may use. Additionally users tend to avoid different
linguistic problems by adopting this photograph
enhancing approach and trying to secure a better
universal approach either to their recruitment ef-
forts or their overall networking approach. They are
thus supported by a strong company in the market,
the industry or the network itself. Language still
remains an issue for each part or each section of
the LinkedIn not necessarily guaranteeing that
communication is efficient or appropriate in the
way it should be articulated within the context both
of a network, of a web environment or of a more
sophisticated online world. The demographics
of the user may also have an impact. Moreover
LinkedIn profiles have the approach of a young
stylish professional world where the actual words
don’t count as much as effective communication.
A number of linguistic researchers have proposed
different approaches into how language can be
decoded. These approaches have evolved over
time and have been adopted by social media and
by online communities. One of the most popular
network profiles provider is LinkedIn. The user
builds up sophisticated linguistic skill set which
is multi disciplinarily in terms of how signs are
used interchangeably along with words. The
theory of Saussure is evident along with semiotic
theories. Saussure supported the existence of
different meanings according to social or other
background for the language. LinkedIn unifies this
by using structural approaches for the linguistic
terms and signs used. Users have strict linguistic
codes to use and to respect, these codes belong to
a very important messaging agreement between
the users. Semiotics on the other hand enhance
the written presence of the signs. Such signs
are supportive of the words allowing the user to
use distinctive signs such as company logos or
photographs thus making the profile more vivid,
live and more representative of the group he/she
wants to belong to. The wording and the use of
the language has an incremental use according to
the sophistication the user has, the approach of
the network the user belongs to and the overall
importance the user gives to the network or to the
profile he or she created. The overall attitude of
the user has mainly to do with the impact the user
profile will have and this depends on the language.
A Semantic Approach to LinkedIn Proles
A more sophisticated approach or performance in
terms of profile creation does not necessarily lead
to improved communication or improved use of
language. A more differentiating linguistic ap-
proach tends to be adopted, probably influenced
by similar networks or networking approaches.
The major characteristics that contribute the
users use of different linguistic skills sets or
language use could be identified the following:
The user’s demographics.
The experience and the expertise the user
has in similar environments and from simi-
lar approaches.
The linguistic sets others are using either
as network members either as pat of the
same group in which the user belongs to.
The overall sociocultural trends the user
belongs to or the user aims to belong to.
It is difficult to say that the speech or the
linguistic skills the user adopts are similar or dif-
ferent to the ones that the other members adopt
but it is interesting to note than in most of the
profiles the wording or the signifiers change very
little. According to the different linguistic theo-
ries discussed this is as expected. The linguistic
format is, most of the time, meaningful when it
comes to a consistent and professional approach of
expressing the present in comparison to the past.
The user tries to subsidise words with icons even
in the early stages of the dialogue but the overall
approach is designed to give a superior approach
to anyone who would like to view the profile. A
concern still remains about whether the linguistic
or metalinguistic era will denote some important
profile elements or whether the language and the
use of it will continue to rely on the following:
The user.
The context in the words are used.
The company’s strategies in terms of words
and images used interchangeably.
The overall approach the user may have for
linked in profiles.
The impact linked in may in comparison
with other media.
The significance of the language is obviously
important in contemporary social media. What
still has to be established in the LinkedIn case
is whether the use of LinkedIn denotes a sophis-
ticated professional and upgraded version of an
online professional world which is different from
the physical world in terms of the language used.
This language may help managers to:
Decode messages existing in the users
Create a common communication platform
for employability or other purposes.
Use the LinkedIn platform differently
than the other similar platforms, for ex-
ample as a platform in order to promote
social awareness about a topic, or to use it
as a new product/service communication
Differentiate recruiting strategies from
other social media for this purpose, and
create a more e-recruiting environment.
Identify commonalities and differences be-
tween the different communication options
managers have for business or individual
purposes under a new and contemporary
efficient social media scheme.
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Context: The situation for which speech is
Decode: How the receiver interprets the mes-
Language Structure: How the language is
structured in terms of meanings, and grammati-
cal structure.
Screen Media: Media of high technology
having a screen.
Signifier: The meaning of a word according
to sociocultural terms and rules.
Social Media: Media used online from dif-
ferent groups in order to communicate wherever
there is internet connection.
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Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents a detailed examination of the syntax, semantics, and pragmatics of imperatives, concentrating on English, and argues that they constitute an especially primitive clause type cross-linguistically. Traditional speech-act analyses deriving imperatives from declarative structures by massive deletions fail to capture their properties, which are illustrated with abundant examples.
There is a long tradition according to which the concept of truth is one of the most important subjects for philosophical discussion, but in this century the tradition has come to be seriously questioned by a large number of philosophers, as well as historians, literary critics and theoreticians, and others. I think this is because of various tempting errors and confusions. Here I examine a few of the reasons truth has become tarnished, or at least diminished, in the minds of many, and then go on to say why the concept of truth should be restored to its key role in our understanding of the world and of the minds of agents.
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