LinkedIn, Are You There?

The folks at LinkedIn are making one of the most common errors businesses make, and I for one find it surprising. They are making numerous changes to how users experience using it without checking with their end-users first to determine if they’ll like those implemented changes.

Now I for one have come to embrace change in the most general sense. I’m not typically one who resists enhancements or laments, ‘the way things used to be’. No, change is generally good. When LinkedIn made the possibility of adding video, presentations, pictures etc. to each volunteer or employment positon on one’s profile, I imagined the possibilities. I think that option for those who want it is a good one. It will give others the opportunity to click on such media and delve a little deeper into someone’s experience and expertise in how they market themselves.

However, I noticed a big change in the groups I’m part of and how one goes about sharing a post. Suddenly what was pretty straight forward is confusing and poorly laid out. Well, that’s my opinion; but no one has asked what my thoughts are. Did they consult with you? I mean maybe they did in fact do a test run with selected LinkedIn users, but as far as I know they didn’t.

The end result; (perhaps ‘end’ is an inappropriate choice of words as things are constantly morphing these days it seems) something easy to use and easy to understand became awkward to use and hard to understand. Okay so maybe the justification they would throw out at us is that there are way too many LinkedIn users; that consulting with all of us would  only give them a broad range of responses so they went ahead with their, “we know what’s best for you and you’ll like it” mentality. If so, this recipe has been the very thing that killed all kinds of organizations and businesses in the past.

Do you have to constantly change to be relevant in this day in age? Are they fearful that by keeping some things static they will fall out of favour and see their users click away from them in droves?

Take a company that launches a new phone. Every broadcaster doing a story will lead with some version of, “So what’s new this time around and why should you trade in your old model?” That I get. There has to be enough new features in something new to stimulate end-users enough to ditch what they have for what they could have. But in this case, we already have LinkedIn.

I certainly don’t know everything, and it could well be that users were complaining to LinkedIn; making threats of going to other platforms, making suggestions of how to improve the group experience. Perhaps… This I can’t honestly comment on but I for one didn’t come across people griping about the service. If this is the case, I’m in the dark and yes this would explain a lot.

Up until recently when I made a post, I could then click on the various groups I’m part of and one by one copy and paste the links to a blog I penned and share it with those groups I’m part of. That’s getting harder to do, for yesterday when I went to share it, I clicked on the ‘share’ features but don’t know exactly with whom it got shared. Gone was the process of choosing which groups to send it to. In other words, I’m not sure if my targeted audiences received the post or not, and I’m not sure where it went at all. It’s like standing on a soapbox in the village square but having a blindfold on and not knowing who your audience is in front of you; or if you even have one!

So in your organization, when you are considering a change, isn’t the change you want to bring about generally in response to improving the experience of your customers or clients? Often we hear about situations where unwanted change occurs, and customers blame the folks in their ivory towers who think they know what’s best for the masses but are out of the loop. I certainly hope LinkedIn gurus don’t fall victim to this pitfall.

Technology is famous for its upgrades though isn’t it? When a publisher wanted to update a schoolbook with the latest information, they did so once a year and labeled it the new edition. Technology however changes throughout the day and night – 24/7, so the changes can and do happen with greater frequency. When things improve our experience, we applaud the quick response, the improved experience, the cutting edge technological response to our demands. Every so often though, the changes miss the mark and we end-users scratch our collective heads and stop cheering on the changes.

I’m not about to revoke my LinkedIn support; and believe me I think it’s fabulous in its potential. It’s that very potential however that maybe they are responding to in trying to remain relevant. Are they worried that we end users grow so complacent unless we see major develops on a daily basis we look for the next greatest thing so easily?

I shouldn’t worry I suppose come to think of it; likely they’ll morph the group experience again in the near future and maybe it will be a better experience. If they consult with you, let me know!

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