I realise to my shame that it’s been over a year since I last posted to my blog, but what’s been going on at LinkedIn has me so riled that I need to vent . . .
The powers that be at LinkedIn have recently made three moves which I believe seriously dilute the power of this pre-eminent business networking tool:
- They Created Endorsements: While recommendations take time and thought to write, it’s way too easy to press the “endorsement” button. I’ve seen countless complaints that the endorsements are largely worthless, and many people (including myself) have received them from folks that we don’t even know! Caveat: I have been endorsed by a few connections for whom I have great respect, and I’m honoured – but I’m really addressing the larger picture here.
- They Killed Answers: The Q&A section of LinkedIn was incredibly valuable both for finding information, and for marketing oneself as an expert – I used both aspects with very positive results. Their recommendation to use group discussions instead is no substitute – it can often be pretty difficult to know which group to search in – and anyway, until I get some free time to sort myself out, I’ve maxed out my group memberships.
- They Send Corporate Marketing-Speak Email That Promotes Spam: Have you noticed how many groups are being taken over by postings that say “Hurray! I have one of the top 2% most viewed @LinkedIn profiles for 2012.” These announcements aren’t in the Promotions section – they’re discussions. What part of this self-congratulation is a discussion???
For the record, I did receive one of these emails, and I’m in the top 1% – which made me feel really special, until I figured out that since this is celebrating LinkedIn’s achievement of 200 million members, that puts me in the august company of 1,999,999 other distinguished profiles!
And now the final straw:
LinkedIn is by far my favourite and most productive social networking tool, and I still see return on the investment of time that I put into it. Just last night, it saved me from looking really stupid by sending an email to an old client, copied to his boss, without knowing that he had moved on. Now I have a new person to talk with at the previous client, and a connection at an entirely different company.
But I’m concerned about these recent developments – concerned that the changes being made are not thought through with business professionals in mind, and concerned that as the quality of the content is diluted, the quality of the connections will be too.
What do you think?