Did LinkedIn Break Itself By Trying To Fix Something That Wasn’t Actually Broken?


For the past year or so, LinkedIn has been sliding down a slippery slope of its own making.

And we have all, with varying levels of interest, been watching it happen. The range of emotions that are being expressed over this go from blase to downright vehement anger and everything in between.

What Happened?

A while back, LinkedIn made the transition from private to publicly owned. And for reasons that have never actually been made clear to anyone that I know, they started making changes to the way the site worked.

I guess it never occurred to them that the moves they made and the way they had developed the site up till that point had been working just fine for them. I don’t understand why any business would want to try and fix something that wasn’t broken. But then the longer I spend reading and writing about business, the more mystified I become.

Where I Stand

Because I’m simply a blogger and don’t rely on Linkedin as a source for generating leads, I’m sort of somewhere in the middle. My primary concern lies in the area of publishing, but I am also sympathetic to those who do use LinkedIn as a lead generation tool, as well as those who run groups here.

My specific points of frustration are in the basic hypocrisy of the management of this site who lured literally thousands of writers here to populate their publishing platform, based on the promise of great exposure within the LI community, and automatic notifications to followers, so that it would be that much easier to build a follower base.

The Pulse platform itself is no great shakes. It’s pretty basic and there are only a couple of stats you can look at, so it’s not like they were bending over backward to create a solid, useful entity.

And then came the dreaded algorithm tampering which basically, at this point in time, effectively prevents non-featured writers from having any real chance to build a following here.

Other than that, besides my aforementioned empathy, it’s almost getting to hard to care.

Where’s The Integrity?

Broken promises are just plain unprofessional on a site that purports to be the world’s foremost professional networking site. I’m not sure that the people who run LinkedIn even know what that means. And why should they?

Up until fairly recently LinkedIn was basically just a big old headhunter’s paradise. And frankly, it still is, despite the fact that it is trying to be much more than that.

However, if they really did want to become what they say they want to be, why do they make it increasingly difficult for any real networking to take place here?

They have made life hellish for both the non-Influencer contributors and the group owners and managers as well. But these are the people who are the key to becoming a successful networking site.

So I’m justifiably mystified. Because I find it hard to believe that people running a big deal web site like this don’t appear to have any real allegiance to or respect for  its most frequent users.

Black Is White

I am a fairly smart business person. I have made a decent living, not working myself to death and helping businesses grow, for the past 27 years. But most of what I see going on here these days defies any sort of business logic that I possess.

The writers, who were so gung ho a little more than a year ago, are now messaging each other with tips on other places to post, since they no longer can make any progress blogging on Pulse. Many have just given up and left. Good writers, smart people, influencers on a smaller scale than the exalted featured writers, many of whom appear to be phoning it in these days just to fill up their quotas.

The lack of any sort of enforced code of behaviour has opened the floodgates for a wide range of social media idiots to start posting insipid crap here on a regular and ever increasing basis.

Political posts and all the accompanying venom are also starting to appear with frightening regularity.

Real business people, the people who came her to share insights and learn from others, who came here to discover the potential for developing relationships are, in ever growing numbers, starting to think of this site as just another Facebook wannabe. Which, in this context, translates to bad joke.

I’m Not Making This Shit Up.

I’m a good networker. I have ongoing relationships with a lot of really smart people here and the general consensus is that this site is going to hell on a sled.

And if that wasn’t enough, the market might even be feeling the same way, as LinkedIn’s stock price took a huge hit in Q-4 of last year.

Is It Worth Sticking Around?

Well that’s the big question, now isn’t it?

For myself, I will keep posting here on Pulse. Mainly because it’s a link point to other exterior blog hub sites that I belong to. And there are still a few groups that are worth posting on and interacting with, mostly run by people I know.

But as far as the rest of my participation here goes, I have honestly come to the point where I couldn’t care less.

Fighting my way through math puzzles, misquotes from famous dead guys, bimbo models photographed by idiot photographers, irritating motivational posters, the noisy and extremely ignorant right wing fanatics, business pitches from people who have no clue what I do, endless endorsements from people who simply read my profile and assume I am an expert at a lot of things, pathetic numbers on my Pulse posts where there used to be good ones and link requests from every intern at every SEO company in India, I have to tell you it’s getting to be real uphill work.

I’m not sure if I will get my ass kicked by LinkedIn for being unkind to them. But honestly, if they haven’t realized what’s going on out in left field at this point, I’m just wondering if they really care at all. Some of the smarter people I have gotten to know here think that probably is the case as well.

I am connected to one of the VPs of User Experience here. And my relationship with him has been pretty solid. I don’t really believe that he is part of the problem. But his responses to me, while cordial, have all been very diplomatic.

But let’s not kid ourselves, there is a problem here. Right now it’s only affecting a small segment of the LinkedIn membership. But that segment happens to be pretty competent on the keyboard and they are making their frustrations known. This, in turn is causing awareness of the problem here to grow. I believe it will get a lot worse before it gets better.

Who knows, maybe one day we’ll get lucky and somebody upstairs at LinkedIn will snap out of their coma and start returning things to the way they were before they they started fixing a whole lot of stuff that wasn’t broken.

Anyway, if you have come this far, thanks for the ear. Like the visual up top says, I’m glad I got that out of my system.


Photo on 2014-11-13 at 10.14 AMI am what’s known, in today’s world, as a Communications Navigator. Through my own core skills as a strategist, writer & art director and with the help of a select group of insanely talented associates, I work with primarily B to B clients, large and small to create hard working communications in whatever sector of the marketing universe their strategy dictates the need to travel through. I am also a mentor, blog post editor and a pretty decent photographer.

If you have a marketing or communications challenge you would
like to discuss, (no obligation),  there are three ways you can contact me:

Direct Line: 416 463-3475
Email: onandup3@gmail.com
Skype: jimbobmur61

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Copyright © 2016 by Jim Murray


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