CO - HR Innovation

Is LinkedIn Improving Itself Out of Business?

Is LinkedIn Improving Itself Out of Business?

I still remember the day I joined LinkedIn.  A friend of mine called in frustration and asked why I wasn't on LinkedIn.  I was clueless and she filled me in.  She said that knowing me I would have 500 contacts before the end of the day; she wasn't far off.

I immediately loved ERM and reconnected with ex-coworkers and colleagues who I thought I would never speak to again.  I joined discussion groups and met top professionals from whom I learned great deal.  After a time, I worked up the courage to answer questions in the long-since discarded Questions and Answers section where a person could ask a question and LinkedIn members would answer them.  If you were lucky the person who posted the question would rank your question as a "good" answer and one lucky person could get the much coveted "best answer" designation.  I got my fair share of best answers and was deemed an expert in a dozen or so catagories.  As niave and silly as it sounds now, I was really proud of that.  But then LinkedIn "improved" and dropped that feature.

Discussion groups were just that back then.  They were places where one could post a discussions and if someone got out of line (as was often the case) you could, with a simple click of the mouse button, report a post as inappropriate and a member moderator would review it and determine if the post was indeed offensive or inappropriate.  You could also click a button and move a discussion from the discussion threads to the Jobs thread or the Sales thread.  It made it a lot easier then to participate in discussions without having to sort through the dross of thinly veiled sales pitches, memes, off-topic non-sequitors, and well...crap. LinkedIn improved all this away and even added "sponsored posts" to monetize the site. This improvement drove some of LinkedIn's brightest and best off the site and discussion groups that had hundreds of comments dwindled to a handful of usually dimwitted observations apparently made by someone who read an article that said it was a good idea to participate in discussions.

I don't blame anyone for trying to monetize their sites.  I have resisted monetizing my personal blog (which all my employers hasten to add does not reflect their opinions unless you really like it in which case they not only agree but taught me to think this way) because a) I don't think I would make that much money and b) I'm too lazy to hassle with it. But I think people like Dave Collins and others who devote too much of their time to produce a truly worthwhile and useful website deserve to get paid for it.  I paid $200 to promote one of my Tweets and all it netted me was snide comments and insults from millennial puke bags who have never done an honest day's work in their short but special lives.  I told one particularly odious detractor that I had to get my readership of my Entrepreneur articles up or I would be dropped as a contributor and that if this creepy little pustule had better idea I was all ears. I went on to tell him I would probably be as condescending and rude as he was, but I wanted his advice.  Instead, to his credit he apologized and acknowledged that developing a following is difficult. I didn't grow to like him, but I hated him a little less.

But I digress.  I have noticed a pattern with LinkedIn "improvements".  Each one seems more about generating money than it is about the user experience, and that, is a recipe for disaster but one that in my experience computer companies like Microsoft have used for years.  Put out a product that is 75% done and fix it in a series of "updates".  The latest improvement I noticed is that one can no longer have their Tweets automatically post to LinkedIn. Why? Who cares? All I know is this is another improvement that no one asked for.  I went on the help section to see what the issue was and the bland response was Twitter will no longer automatically be posted to your page, and then---and I don't think I could make this up---I was given instructions as to how to cut/paste my Tweets to LinkedIn.  No kidding (and trust me when I say "kidding" was not in my top ten list of word choices)?

So while LinkedIn isn't dead, it's coughing up blood.  Facebook killed MySpace because it was just plain easier and better. Stupidity and arguments about Trump and "fake news" killed Facebook, and I don't think LinkedIn is far behind.  LinkedIn is one, maybe two "improvements" away from going the way of Classmates.com. We can look forward to tens of thousands of people not communicating with people the old fashion way---by not calling or writing.

  • Phil La Duke
    Phil La Duke
    Global writer and speaker, Local Non-Affiliated Member of the Institutional Biosafety Committee, Wayne State University

    Phil LaDuke is a safety writer, author and consultant -- an entrepreneur through and through. He is creating a professional brand as a global partner, working with business partners in Singapore, Indonesia, Africa, and the UK, to name a few. Phil La Duke is a business consultant at global company where he works with on large-scale organizational change programs primarily in worker safety. He has 28 years of experience in the fields of Worker Safety, Organizational Development, Process Improvement, Cultural Change Implementation, and Training. Phil La Duke has over 500 published works in print and has contributed content to numerous notable magazines, including Entrepreneur, Authority, Thrive Global, and Monster and is published on all inhabited continents. Mr. La Duke's take-no-prisoners style garnered him positions on Industrial Safety and Hygiene News (ISHN) magazine's Power 101 (a list of the world's most influential people working in worker safety) and its list of Up and Comers in Safety Thought Leadership. La Duke style is sarcastic, caustic, in your face. He pulls no punches which makes his writing accessible to most everyone. You don't have to be a safety nerd to enjoy his writings and the reactions that uptight, intellectually constipated, ass-clowns typically have to his work.

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