Last week, I saw the following post from Augie Ray, research director at Gartner, in my LinkedIn feed.
I wasn’t surprised to see this kind of post from Augie. He’s railed against LinkedIn before. But, this time, he put a finer point to his frustration by calling out specific items he believes have led/are leading to LinkedIn’s demise.
And that got me thinking: Is LinkedIn really broken?
Up until now, I’ve kindly ignored Augie’s comments about LinkedIn because, for me, LinkedIn has been a great tool to: 1) Establish and enhance reputation, 2) Research new clients/contacts, and 3) Keep in touch with former and current colleagues.
But, looking at the list above from Augie, I started to agree with him…a little. But, I still believe LinkedIn has great value.
Here’s the way I see it:
The top-of-the-feed videos are getting old–fast.
The post above next to Steve Clarke is hardly abnormal. In fact, 9 out of 10 times I open my LinkedIn feed lately, I see a useless video at the top of the page. This prioritizing of video content is hardly useful–in fact, in many cases, it has nothing to do with the professional world (especially in the area of new jobs or professional development, which is what most people use LinkedIn for). This has been a huge nuisance for the last couple months. Probably not a reason I would stop using LinkedIn, but it’s definitely clouding my perception at the moment.
Where did the notifications for promotions and job changes go?
This is one area where I completely agree with Augie and his note above. Work anniversaries and birthdays do seem to be the focus now on LinkedIn. You’ll see them in the upper-right-hand corner on your desktop feed, and in the “network” tab on the mobile app. Recognizing birthdays and work anniversaries is fine–it does give me info I can use to reconnect with a former colleague or connection. But, those job changes were a huge deal–and I don’t see those as often anymore. Knowing when someone made a big job change is critical for a number of reasons: 1) Gives you a chance to reconnect/offer congratulations, 2) Maybe you’d like to explore the possibility of working with/for your friend in her/his new role, or 3) Maybe you might be interested in the job your friend left open when he/she left that position. Still not sure why they aren’t prioritizing this information–seems absolutely critical to user experience to me.
Why do they keep taking key pieces of functionality away?
Augie mentions Answers and Events, which I find odd, since I never used those. But, I do agree with his premise–why does LinkedIn keep killing functionality that is actually useful? In my case, it’s the “Connections” tab and the ability to sort through your connections by a variety of criteria. In the previous world (and by that, I mean like 3 months ago), you could filter your connections by location (very helpful), job and employer. But, recently they stripped all that away (maybe it’s part of the “premium” package now–I don’t know). That was a huge loss for me, as I frequently used that functionality to sift through my connections to find people who might be good fits for current job openings friends pass my way.
LinkedIn publishing has been a boon
One thing Augie neglected to talk about was LinkedIn Publishing–which has been an absolute boon for me (and many others). This tool has given many folks a chance to establish authority and enhance reputation with their professional networks. For me, I could make a pretty good argument that my posts get more traction on LinkedIn now than on my blog! In addition, I’m constantly sourcing posts from LinkedIn for my weekly e-newsletter–so I’m learning and growing by reading what others are posting about, too. Huge win for LinkedIn here.
Jobs tab still prevalent
Educated guess: 80% of all people who use LinkedIn do it to find a new job. Probably higher, really, but I wanted to be conservative for the sake of this conversation. And, the Jobs tab fills that need. It’s very easy to set up an alert for jobs you are interested in. Even though I’m NOT looking for a job, I check this frequently, as I include open positions from LinkedIn in the Talking Points e-newsletter every Friday. I do think LinkedIn could find ways to work this info into your feed, or home page, a bit better. But overall, this is the primary reason people are using LinkedIn–and the information is easy to get to and helpful.
I wish LinkedIn would serve up more targeted ad content
Say what you will about Facebook’s ad products, they target the hell out of you. Now, Facebook knows much more about you and your personal preferences than LinkedIn. But, sometimes I wish LinkedIn would serve me up more targeted and relevant ad content. Right now, I get ads like this:
This example is all too common. Products and offers that aren’t all that relevant to me. Again, not a huge deal. But definitely annoying.
Some of their recent new offerings actually are useful
Augie talks about how core features are broken. That hasn’t been the case for me. In fact, I’ve noticed that LinkedIn is adding new functionality that could be potentially very useful. Case in point: The new ProFinder functionality (found under the “Interests” tab). Designed to help you find a professional to help fill your need, it’s like a professional service form of airbnb. I haven’t used it yet, but on the surface, it appears that it would be helpful.
That’s my take. Overall, LinkedIn is still working for me. I access it every day.