An interview hosted by Bailey Richardson and Mia Quagliarello with Anna McAfee of #LinkedInLocal. We talked with Anna about the organic movement she sparked to connect the “people behind the profiles” on LinkedIn. At its height, #LinkedInLocal had more than 1,000 hosts leading events in 650+ cities across 92 countries.
“Leadership is actually the first few followers, not the crazy first person to stand up on stage.” - Anna McAfee
In May 2017, Anna McAfee put up a simple post on LinkedIn to see if anyone living in her hometown of Coffs Coast, Australia wanted to get together. She had just returned after years of living abroad and wanted to “get to know the people behind the profiles” in her area.
Anna included the hashtag #LinkedInLocal. Fifteen people made it out to the first Coffs Coast event, but the online response was what would change Anna’s life.
Three strangers—Alexandra Galviz in London, Manu Goswami in NYC, and Erik Eklund in Brussels—raised their hand to also host a #LinkedInLocal in their city. No one could predict what happened next.
Host requests started pouring in from around the world. The founding team was soon hosting after-hours trainings six nights a week to help new cities ramp up. For two years, Anna and her co-creators led, mentored, and managed the #LinkedInLocal global community. At its height, #LinkedInLocal had more than 1,000 hosts and had rallied over 300,000 humans, in 650+ cities across 92 countries.
Anna & co. fostered this community without formal support from LinkedIn. She walked a fine line between an unexpected, organic community and the priorities of the platform. In 2019, Anna stepped away and she recently co-authored a book about her experience: How a Hashtag Changed the World.
We talked with her about creating a host community and the friction that can appear when an organic community erupts on a major platform.
Highlights, inspiration, & key learnings:
👋🏻Say hi to Anna and grab a copy of her book.
✨Thank you to Mia Quagliarello, “Get Together” correspondent, for spotlighting Anna’s story with us.
📄See the full transcript
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