The Problems That Are LinkedIn

It appears that the last time I wrote anything really positive about using LinkedIn was March 2012; now that’s a shame. The real shame isn’t that I haven’t written anything positive about it; the shame is that it’s not quite what it was back then, thus it’s a bit more difficult these days to be as positive as I was then.

links in

As I wrote in my previous post regarding social media in general, LinkedIn is supposed to be for business networking. To a degree it still is that. For instance, they have groups like Facebook does but you won’t see a group on there talking about Harry Potter or reality TV. However, within some groups the lines are blurred a bit here and there and you wonder if you’re actually there to talk business or be a captive audience for carefully (not always) crafted sales messages from both companies and individuals.

Part of it’s problem is that it knows what it wants to be and yet it’s in direct competition with two other monoliths, Facebook and Google Plus. Sure, Facebook really doesn’t concentrate on business, but many businesses are there, including me, and we’re competing for the consumer as opposed to other businesses to work with. Overall, who’s more likely to buy, consumers or businesses? After all, everyone is a consumer, but not everyone is a business. And Google Plus hasn’t really defined itself either, but when you’ve got nearly 300 million people and, well, you’re Google, the numbers are only going to increase and they’re going to increase fast.

One of the strangest things LinkedIn has done is set up this thing where it makes recommendations to people as to what to recommend you for, making it easy for your connections to share your expertise with everyone else. The thing is that many things you end up being recommended for aren’t your expertise, and it’s not only people you don’t know well who are recommending you for those things. To that end, why do people I don’t know all that well but have connected to through some entity or another recommend me at all, especially if they’ve never been to my website or read a blog post? Maybe it’s because when you recommend someone for something you get your picture listed next to it; I’m not really sure…

You can be recommended for up to 50 things by other people. If there are other things you’re recommended for but don’t break through the top 50, you have to remove something to let something else in. That sounds simple but the fact is that if you pay much attention to it at all you’re always deleting something that LinkedIn itself came up with, and it’s over and over; so strange. And sure, they picked out a lot of stuff that does fit me as far as what I can help people with, but I can assure you that “volunteer management”, “creativity coaching” and “entrepreneurship” aren’t really specialties of mine. Not only that, but some things I’ve been recommended for multiple times, once with capital letters, once without; that takes away from things doesn’t it?

LinkedIn did add one new feature that’s kind of neat. You get to add a link or video to whatever business you mention. Because I have two different businesses listed, I got to add one for each, and I took full advantage of that, though I wonder who the heck will be watching them. No matter; links are links if they’re legitimate, and both should give those who may stop by and not know so much about me an idea of what I can do for them or with them; never miss taking advantage of an opportunity to promote yourself for free is it’s a legitimate offer. 🙂

Finally, let’s talk about the main page when you sign in. Used to be you’d see some names listed and that was it. Now it looks just like the Facebook page, and things move by so fast that, like Facebook, you just can’t keep up with it. And they now have sponsors; well, I guess they had to find a financial model like everyone else. On my home page right now is an ad for a phone app, recommendations of groups I should join, people I know who got endorsed the new way (there’s still the old way of endorsing people, which I highly recommend), recommendations of people I should connect with “that I know” (that I DON’T know), and lots and lots of links that go on and on.

I guess I shouldn’t complain all that much. After all, recommendations even coming from people I don’t know all that well means people are possibly thinking of me in some fashion (not actually…) right? Having the opportunity to show your expertise in a particular business by commenting in a group helps some right? Seeing all those links to website and blog posts and news posts are kind of interesting, and you can do it as well so it’s all good right?

By the way, you can also now “like” stuff; now where have I seen that before?
 

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Verify Information That’s Not Yours

Well, yesterday was an interesting day in this country, at least in Florida. I decided that I needed to address this issue, especially on this blog, and further decided that it needed to be a video. The title speaks for itself; anyway, here’s the video:

I hope I got my point across, and I’m doubting there’s anyone who can dispute what I said there. Yeah, I know, it might take some time here and there to do it, but in many cases I think it’s important enough to do. You never know who you might hurt by not doing it.

See, short post, short video; I can do it. 🙂
 

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Paper.li

If you’re on Twitter and follow enough people, you’ve probably seen a notification every once in awhile from someone you follow that says something like “The XXXX Daily is out”, followed by a number of Twitter handles. Most of the time if you see it, then you’ll see your Twitter handle in there as well, eventually followed by a link. If you click on that link, you’re taken to your browser to view what looks like a newspaper of sorts, and eventually you’ll see your name and something you tweeted earlier in the day.

All of this is the creation of a company called Paper.li. Its intention is to create a daily newspaper out of Twitter and Facebook feeds that the service deems important based on categories you determine are important to you and deliver information to you based on the people who you follow or are connected to on both Twitter and Facebook.

What you don’t see are “chats”, per se, but the links any of these folks have put up during the day that fit into the types of categories you get to select. For instance, if you click on the image above to enlarge it some, you’ll see that the example I selected, one of my local online friends, starts with headlines, which all Paper.li sites begin with, then breaks down into Business, Arts & Entertainment, Stories, Sports, etc; just like a regular newspaper. The second example below, someone I don’t know, has different interests, so after headlines his goes Health, Education, Business, Leisure, and so on.

Overall it’s a combination of three things; links to blogs, links to news sources, and links to videos. You have the option of having a live Twitter feed showing on your newspaper as well.

Now, why would you want something like this? I’ll tell you after I own up to the reality that I don’t have one of these, and don’t see me doing it any time soon, though it could change in the future. I just wanted to get that out of the way because, though I could see how many people would love something like this.

Here’s the thing. On Twitter, if you have a lot of people you follow, there’s just no way you’re going to see everything that people post during the day; it’s impossible. So, you never know if you’ve missed something that you care about in a category you want to know more about. With Paper.li, you’ll know that you’re capturing news in categories you want to see that has been posted by people you’re following. And you also have the ability to highlight people who you want to follow more closely, to make sure their links show up before the links of people you follow but don’t necessarily care if you miss what they post or not.

What are the downsides? First, it only updates once a day. When it does finally update it will only catch the newest stuff if you follow a lot of people. Therefore, if someone posted a great link at midnight and your newspaper doesn’t post until 8PM, you’re probably going to miss it unless no one else posted something under a category you follow. You might not care all that much, but it’s something to consider.

Second, it determines what’s newsworthy and what’s not, just like Facebook does. Sure, you get to highlight certain people to come up first, but after that it makes all decisions for you. That’s just like regular newspapers, though; you don’t really get to select which news you read, just which section of the newspaper you wish to read.

Third, it could capture some items from people who might not have wanted everything out there for all to see. Now, if those people are savvy they can always follow the link and de-list themselves from being scanned by Paper.li, but they don’t always know about that possibility. This happens if you decide to list someone who otherwise normally has their tweets protected; there’s no way for Paper.li to know.

Of course, you could also decide to post the link to your newspaper on both your Facebook or blog sites for people to follow as well. Truthfully, some people will smile when they get the tweet showing your name as being on their newspaper. If other people follow it they might see your blog posts or links that you’ve shown, and the originator’s name and image is always next to those stories. For my friend, I’ve never shown up on his headlines page, but in checking out his stories page I found a couple of my blog posts and many posts from other people I know.

This isn’t such a bad thing if you’re going to read it. If not, don’t bother setting one up. Statistics show that only 14% or so of people who create these papers visit them more than once a month, which is a shame. I’m thinking the internet doesn’t need more clutter. But if you’re a reader, and you want to see what people you follow are saying that’s been determined to be important, this is a good way to go.

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