Social Media

Is Linkedin Turning Into MySpace?

Posted by Dan Roche on February 21st, 2013 at 7:43 am

LinkedIn now has more than 200 million members, and with nearly two new users signing up every second, the site has certainly established itself as a leading social media networking channel. However, each time I access my LinkedIn account, it feels more and more like MySpace, disjointed and overpopulated with information and feeds, and less and less like a trusted source for professional networking communication.

LinkedIn seems to be having some type of identity crisis. Upon logging into my account, the page is flooded with news stories “recommended” by LinkedIn Today, a feed of updates from my connections and notifications of endorsements by people who probably don’t even know me well enough to offer such a recommendation.

In addition, there are sections for the following:

  • People I May Know (listed twice)
  • Who’s Viewed Your Profile
  • Your LinkedIn Network
  • Jobs I May Be Interested In
  • Groups I May Like
  • Companies You May Want To Follow
  • Ads by LinkedIn Members (listed twice)

Plus, if you’ve already joined a group(s) and haven’t unchecked the feature allowing member messages to be emailed to you, your inbox will be inundated with comments and discussions (many irrelevant).

What steps should LinkedIn take to give itself a makeover? Here are the top three ways LinkedIn can promote itself to its former status as a true business social media site:

  • Establish order – Right now, LinkedIn is too disorganized. The design layout is hectic, and at times, overwhelming. There is too much going on, and I end up feeling distracted from what I’m actually using the site for when I log in. Should I join a group discussion? Connect with new people? Look at suggested jobs? LinkedIn needs to establish more organization and focus in its physical presentation.
  • Static or social? – In addition to LinkedIn showing an indecisive presence visually, they are undecided in how they recommend its users interacting on the site. Should users engage in discussions and exchange ideas on industry trends or should it merely be used as a static tool to post work experience information and search for jobs? LinkedIn is combining too many elements in both categories, and in my opinion, it is affecting the company’s overall success. Again, the company needs to create a more focused framework for the site.
  • Institute more credibility – Unfortunately, not everyone is honest with information on their resumes or on their LinkedIn profiles. Titles are inflated, timeframes are inaccurate and many times “current” company information is no longer current. Now, with the addition of endorsements, any friend or family member that you are connected with can recommend your expertise in a certain field, whether they have ever worked with you or not. This functionality, along with the fact that resume information on LinkedIn is not validated, takes away from LinkedIn’s credibility as a professional business tool.

It’s definitely not a feature recruiters or potential employers can trust, so perhaps LinkedIn should institute the same policy that joining certain alumni groups warrant – having the company or school’s approval so that information listed is actually factual.

If LinkedIn were a country, it would have the 5th largest population in the world. Let’s just hope the company doesn’t continue adding features and functionality to keep up with this growing user base. The site needs a more centralized approach to enhance its user friendliness and further improve the company’s authority in the business networking industry.

19 Responses to “Is Linkedin Turning Into MySpace?”

  1. Jose Jimenez says:

    Hi and thanks for the interesting piece.

    I agree with some of your points. I actually like the feed they have but I do agree it does have silly information at times like someone's work anniversary... ummm. You can actually hide people's feeds if you they annoy you though.

    The groups are one of LinkedIn's best features if well moderated. Go into the settings for the group and change the setting for the frequency of emails you receive and if group managers can send you emails. If the group doesn't meet your needs, leave it. I run a group and unfortunately LinkedIn isn't doing enough to help group owners/managers and, there is very little dialogue too.

    I agree that LinkedIn doesn't do a great job with promoting the way people should take advantage of its site. Also agree re endorsements which hold little value and probably introduced to increase engagement on the site. They shut down q&a too which was a bad move imo. Be interesting to see developments over next 12 months but I think they are too unique to go down the myspace route, for now!

    • KathyCash says:

      I still find LinkedIn very useful but there are elements that frustrate me, some of which are mentioned in this post. Jose......to your point, is there a way not just to hide certain people's feeds but to hide the type of content you don't want to see in your feed across the board? For example, every time someone updates their profile, I don't need to see that in my feed. I know that individuals can turn off a lot of the broadcasting features (which I have done myself) but can I tailor what I want to see on my feed from others? Thanks in advance!

      • Jose Jimenez says:

        Hi Kathy, in your settings go to Account and under "Customize the updates you see on your home page" you can choose the types of updates that you want to see.

  2. michaelpatrickmoran says:

    I like linkedin, but I agree with the sentiments expressed in your blog.

    I have hesitated doing the recommendations for friends and colleagues even though I have received them, because of some of the concerns you raised, and because I did not really see a value to them.

    I was using linkedin as a way to promote video content of a technological nature on a video curation site I operate, but thought it was a little annoying to have the same message post for every group I sent it to with no way to control it. Linkedin offered no alternatives at this point in time.

  3. Jeff Rounce says:

    I so agree with your comments, Dan. These recent changes have definitely reduced my willingness to even sign-in to my LinkedIn account. It the apparent efforts to grow, monetize, become relevant or whatever, this service has almost entirely destroyed its usefulness for me.

  4. SS says:

    I couldn't agree more! I've been on LI for about 10 years and watched it truly develop, but all those things you mentioned have watered down valuable information. While I appreciate recommendations, I would like to be able to control those - people I don't even know, from industries totally unrelated are recommending mine...based upon what!?!? I'd like that to be a true reflection of those who know me and are sincere in their assessment of my skills and abilities. Thanks for saying what's been on my mind!

  5. Chris Finnie says:

    LinkedIn has recently cut off email from almost all the groups I joined. I joined ones my contacts were in, and that seemed to relate to my professional interests.

    In the emails they sent me, LinkedIn said they were stopping the emails because I hadn't visited the groups. I hadn't visited the groups because most of the posts were outright spam. Few had anything to do with the supposed purpose of the group.

    That, and the somewhat clunky navigation (the site shows all emails as unread unless I delete them--even when I've read and replied to them), is the main reason I hardly ever go there. As an independent marketing consultant, I don't have a lot of time to wade through spam. So I just ignore it. If they could fix that, I'd probably participate in discussions as I used to.

  6. I used LinkedIn a lot but this post nails it. LI has its uses and I hope it succeeds at more than just job listings. But it's terribly unfocused and the design and interface are so 20th century.

  7. Nancy Mattison says:

    Thank you for this! I have been in LinkedIn forever, but lately it seems to me to be trying to be all things to all people--a sure recipe for disaster--and to be trying out various offerings with no particular plan or pretesting.

    The endorsements are a joke; not a bad idea, but it's not working so why not drop it? I have turned off endorsements on my profile. Dropping me from Group emails is annoying; I read the headlines in my Outlook in-box and go there only if really interested. So?!

    Support, never really great, has gotten worse. The last two issues I had took over 5 business days to get resolved. That is way too long.

    One feature in particular bugs me on the Company pages -- the administrator of the page has no control over who lists themselves as being part of the Company. Control should be entirely with the administrator, not LI. Now, I have a sham person--with one connection--who has attached itself to the company page I manage. After 5 days, NO success in getting LI to remove it. I finally turned to Twitter to complain and try to get results. Twitter! I actually got an answer from LI there!

    This could be such a great platform; perhaps going public was a bad idea.

  8. I wish the LinkedIn Today section wasn't so honkin' big. Since they added that, I very rarely read my connections' updates. Before that, I used to read them all the time. They also need to figure out a way to make LinkedIn group discussions more engaging. I never want to open the emails. They should do like SocialMediaExaminer.com and give points for starting and participating in discussions.

  9. Joe Buhler says:

    Totally agree with your comments about LinkedIn being over cluttered and badly structured. You can add to this the annoying spam like content in most groups. Jobs that are totally irrelevant and listed both in the discussion and jobs section is just one item.

    It's said that LinkedIn is an effective b2b networking tool which was the original purpose but has now been diluted with all the bloat of irrelevant content. I spend less and less time on LinkedIn as a result.

  10. Sharon Hill says:

    What irks me the most are two things - the high-handed way they did away with the Q&A, and all the expert badges we earned, and took away our access to our archived Q& A info. Second, the SPAM in the groups which LinkedIn refuses to do anything about because they say it's the group manager's responsibility. Managers don't pay much attention to their groups in many cases, or in others they built the group for the purpose of spam.

  11. Satish says:

    Most of the items are covered in earlier responses. LI has definitely not focused. In addition, the lack of customer care and attention could be fatal.

  12. I could agree more. In their efforts to make the site more attractive and contemporary, they seem to have moved away from why professionals loved it and trusted it. It is also obvious that taking away many of the features we came to rely on, they are pushing individual members for paid subscription. Why go backwards when it would be so much more effective to offer NEW options which might accomplish the same goal.

  13. Michael Friedman says:

    These well articulated comments are on the minds of professionals everywhere. Thanks - and we can all say, Amen!"

  14. shim shimuzu says:

    LinkedIn is a navigation and content disaster, and probably beyond repair.

  15. Dan, thank you for a post that gets to the essence of what's been happening at/with LinkedIn.

    I don't say that lightly. LinkedIn has been a valuable tool for me, and a revenue generator for our business.

    I'd respectfully submit that one of our biggest disappointments was the decision to eliminate Answers. It was a great go-to source for us when we wanted straight-to-the-point advice, and a revenue/business generator on several occasions, when we were able to help others.

    I understand what LinkedIn is trying to do with LinkedIn Today... be a business resource and the premiere social media site for professionals. But, as Nancy Mattison mentioned, let's hope it recognizes soon that it can't be all things to all people and finds one good direction to go in soon.

  16. LinkedIn is the only social network I use consistently, but that's not saying much. I agree that LinkedIn seems to be having an identity crisis. It doesn't seem to know if it wants to be a HR tool or a business tool. In an effort to be all things to all people, it's turning into a lot of nothing.

    Personally, I dislike the news feed. When LinkedIn first announced it, I thought they were going to feed me what's new with my connections. Instead, I'm getting news about celebrities I don't care about, as well as what's new with my connections. I wish there were some way to turn off the news feed. It's wasted real estate.

    LinkedIn needs to decide what it wants to be. Does it want to be a HR network or a business network? In either case, it needs a focus and a major revamp to that focus.

    =>Donna Caissie, aka The ExtraOrdinary Assistant

  17. Jeanette Cutberth says:

    I couldn't agree more!!! They need to chose a direction, and stay focused. I have joined groups hoping to learn something from a Marketing perspective, but it is more like Spam Mail.

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