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.