Over the last four years, LinkedIn – the Facebook of the professional world – has analyzed its user profiles for the top ten buzz words. Their goal in doing so is to help users stand out from the crowd.
Me? I like the impression that it provides of the American workforce. The top word is “responsible.” As in, Responsible for writing two blog posts a week. As a resume bullet, it’s weak. So I wrote them. Did I write them on time? Did they generate views or readers? Did they have other requirements that would be more important to list?
Responsible was used twice as many times as any other word on the list. It’s easy to be responsible for things, especially in a generic sense like a LinkedIn resume on your profile.
But think about a character that is responsible for stuff, but not the right stuff. Surely, we all have worked with a person or two like that. What impact does the character have on the protagonist? Are they a help or a hindrance? Could the bring the right information at the wrong time?
Americans, specifically, believe that they are patient; we used the word 50% of the time compared to the other countries surveyed. When combined with responsible, we sound like some really boring people. But it is the view we have of ourselves.
Based on that, I say that we need more character foils in our real lives. We need a sidekick that has the blast of insight or the folly that allows us to be a super hero, again. Don’t fall into the trap of patient and responsible in your writing. Think about that last sticky situation at work. What if you could have wrote the scene instead of lived it? Would your LinkedIn profile still call you responsible?