From giving advice to entrepreneurs to sharing what goes into a killer profile, the LinkedIn co-founder and billionaire investor recently made news in an arena he's not usually associated with - politics.
Let's Get Political
Hoffman pledged up to $5 million of his own money to support a crowd-funding campaign started by a 26-year-old U.S. military veteran aimed at getting presidential hopeful Donald Trump to release his tax returns.
"In a functioning democracy, the public shouldn't be forced to bargain with a major presidential candidate to obtain access to his tax returns," Hoffman wrote in a Medium blog post announcing his intentions. "And for the last 40 years, it hasn't had to. With the exception of Gerald Ford, every major candidate has shared this information with voters."
Hoffman's bold challenge brings up a whole host of questions, including an ironic one - why did he choose Medium to break the big news, instead of his personal LinkedIn blog?
Given how much attention LinkedIn has been giving to its new-and-improved blogging platform recently, it was the first question that popped into my mind.
Regardless, Hoffman's actions bring much larger (and more interesting) issues to the table, including the power of crowd-sourced, Kickstarter-type campaigns in the political arena.
Here's his two cents on Hoffman's interest:
"I thought it was a clever way to mobilize people to support veterans and entice Trump to release his returns," Kiernan told me in an email. "But I had no idea it could go as high as $5 million dollars."
He added that he wasn't sure how Hoffman came across his CrowdPac page, which promises to donate all money raised to 10 different veterans' groups.
"Truthfully, I didn't know who Reid Hoffman was until he posted (on Medium) and I read the article," Kiernan wrote. "Though I am extremely grateful for his support."
The Power of Social and Politics in Business
The entire episode shines a spotlight yet again on the power of a single piece of online content gone viral, along with the ability of anyone with an Internet connection and an idea to have a direct impact on business, life or even the U.S. Presidential election.
At the same time, does it make sense for business leaders like Hoffman to wade into partisan politics?
It's easy enough to do when you're an established billionaire in terms of any business you might lose as a result of speaking out.
But what about the rest of us?
Many will suggest that it's good form to never talk religion or politics at the social media dinner table.
At the same time, I do think it's important to interject at least some elements of your personality and passions into the social media updates you share and post online.
I thought a Christian friend of mine who shares some of his spiritual beliefs online put it best when he said this: "I'm okay losing followers over Jesus. I'm not okay losing followers over Donald or Hillary."
Pros and Cons
I've shared elsewhere the surprising truth about what happened once I started posting more personal updates and content over on LinkedIn.
And while I'm fine with losing followers over the occasional funny story about my kids or the impact my Christian faith has on my life, I'm not okay alienating half my audience by talking partisan politics in my news feed.
Also, I've noticed that as a customer, it's turned me off when certain vendors I work with or business people I follow online have gotten overly political (in either direction) and ugly on social media.