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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16 comments on “The Problems That Are LinkedIn

  • Yeah, I’m not feeling the endorsements. People are endorsing me for things that I know I haven’t done, not the things I wish to be endorsed for. And really don’t like them prompting me to endorse someone for skills I don’t know they have. It’s pretty annoying.

    I really don’t use LinkedIn for much else. I suppose I could be more fruitful with my groups, but even that’s an overload.
    Marcie recently posted…62 Blog Posts to Overcome Blogger’s Block Available is Now Available on Kindle!My Profile

    Reply
    • Marcie, I just haven’t had the time to keep up with it all. Facebook is so much easier, as is Google Plus, but I know that I need to spend more time on LinkedIn networking and trying to make connections. Still, those endorsements… you know…

      Reply
  • Hi Mitch,

    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.

    Maybe that’s why I’m still trying to figure how to best use LinkedIn. I have built out my profile some (it could use more work) and I participate in a couple of groups, but it hasn’t yet clicked for me. I use G+ more (and FaceBook very little).

    The new featured you mentioned (adding links to videos/websites) is useful. I’ll keep trying to use it more strategically.
    Vernessa Taylor recently posted…Hot Desking: Musical Chairs For BusinessMy Profile

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    • That’s an ober new feature Vernessa, and I’m not quite sure how it’ll all work out. I didn’t notice anyone watching either video since I added them, but it was only 2 nights ago. I can see its potential benefit, but so far, at least in the groups I’ve been in, I’ve seen more bickering than actual networking.

      Reply
  • Mitch I know a lot of people find Linked In a pain, but in my line of work it’s great. My professional association has a group and we use that to ask for advice, suggestions for workshop exercises and references to current research and a heap of other things.
    It’s also a useful space for young people to highlight their skills in a different way than on a resume. Employers here (Aust) often check out a candidates profile there. I also know a couple of employers who’ve used it to connect with people they want to hire as a way to short-circuit advertising.
    Sue recently posted…What are the downsides of a QANTAS stopover in Dubai, UAE?My Profile

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    • Sue, I can see its benefits, but overall I’m not sure I like all the new things that are there. I did belong to an association group there, but everything was about promoting the organization and not really networking at all. Disappointing but not unexpected.

      Reply
  • You know, I get the feeling that there’s something else happening with those recommendations that I’m either not getting or just don’t know about.

    Is it possible people are expecting you to come back and recommend them, since they just did it for you?

    I won’t say I get a ton of recommendations, but I get enough from people I don’t really know to make me wonder if I’m just not hip to whatever game is afoot here.

    I will say this: I never used to use LinkedIn, but I use it now for the web design and development groups. It doesn’t directly get work for me, but we learn a lot from each other that can help in our projects.

    I’m still not completely sold on the network as a whole, but I do see some value in it now.
    John Garrett recently posted…How I Write A Blog Post In WordPressMy Profile

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    • John, I know it can be a valuable tool, but some of its new changes seem to pull us away from its true value. I think you’re right, people endorse us so we’ll endorse them. Kind of like people are endorsing me on sites I’ve never heard of, and I see these things coming through my email and Twitter.

      Reply
  • I did sign-up for Linkedin but I have to say I found the general layout of the site far from inspiring – dry I would say – likewise the content, far from inspiring. I guess you should not expect “fun” from a business orientated online service, but, I can see why FB is so much more appealing, as it has that and much more.

    Reply
  • Yeah, LinkedIn is something I plan on really trying to integrate more into my daily social networking, it’s just invaluable as a tool and resource for human resources. Compared to Facebook, it’s THAT much better at really getting a sense of decorum and professionalism across, and it’s built for career needs, not necessarily social.

    Reply
    • Cool Ali; welcome. The difference is that a recommendation actually has to be written by someone, which usually means a person put some thought into what they wanted to say. The endorsements are generated by LinkedIn, which means people might be recommending you for things you don’t do.

      Reply
  • Matilda Rowe says:

    I know what you mean. It’s getting more and more like facebook. So I’m guessing if it is in the right category of competition. Soon it might be in a different name (like FacedIn), if I knew better. LOL

    Reply

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