The LinkedIn – Microsoft deal announced last Monday has been probably one of the hottest topics in last week’s technology news. I’ve read many articles that are in favor or against this acquisition. I personally feel optimistic, especially after reading Jeff Weiner’s internal email to LinkedIn employees that was posted on Time.
At the same time, reading Jeff’s email as LinkedIn CEO and his emphasis on LinkedIn’s mission and culture, and the examples he’d shared on how this acquisition can lead to great improvements made me think of sharing some simpler ideas for improvement that probably millions of other active LinkedIn users would love to see. As a former software developer, I’ve tried to also share some practical fixes that can be applied without much effort:
- Improvement of LinkedIn Messaging
This is on the top of my list for simple but essential improvements. LinkedIn messaging is the core interface through which you can communicate with your connections. Surprisingly, it is unbelievably painful and inefficient to use:
- There are two totally separate messaging interfaces (one for LinkedIn and one for Sales Navigator)! They should be unified and combined.
- Both interfaces are extremely inefficient and hard to use. Having some 3000+ connections that I want to maintain active communication with, in my experience the interfaces are simply useless.
- There are no formatting features even for the simplest ones such as bolding or highlighting a phrase.
- There is no proper integration with email clients.
I would like to see a unified, modern messaging neatly integrated with email clients such as Outlook and with advanced search features that you will find in any other decent messaging interface.
- More Transparent Ban Policies
I’ve read numerous complaints and posts about this and have personally suffered from it as well. More interestingly, the answers I received from LinkedIn support convinced me that the LinkedIn staff themselves are even confused about this! It is very annoying that while LinkedIn is supposed to assist in the building of healthy business relationships, the more active you are in LinkedIn, the more susceptible you can be to having your account being blocked! Although I totally support the intention behind this (as listed in LinkedIn’s User Agreement), this is simply not being implemented properly. Some suggestions would be:
- A clear, transparent definition of how the ban policy is being triggered.
- A pre-alert notice giving the active users a chance to prevent their account being unjustly blocked.
- Temporary blockage of a user’s account should not also block/hide the LinkedIn groups he is owner of!
- Visibility to see if you’ve received any “spam” or “I don’t know” flags and a procedure to have them cleared!
- Correcting Group Blockage Mechanism
Again although the intention behind LinkedIn’s SWAM (Site-Wide Auto Moderation) has been to reduce spam in LinkedIn groups, it is simply not implemented properly. Being an active member of some 30+ groups, I can’t explain how disappointing it was to see my educational/informative posts have become subject to SWAM! I was further disappointed and frustrated when I noticed there is absolutely no way to find who has initiated the SWAM. I literally had to try to message every group owner asking them to let me know if they’ve done this. I was stopped after “InMailing” the first 15 as I’d reached my monthly quota and more interestingly, I never found out who’d caused this! Again this is one of shortfalls I’ve seen tens of posts and complaints about. Some easy suggestions to fix this without compromising the intention behind SWAM:
- Limit applying SWAM only to the Group that tagged the post as Spam.
- Inform the user the Group that has triggered the SWAM
- Inform the user when SWAM is lifted
While I see high hopes on the acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft as expressed by Jeff, and while I wish all the success to the LinkedIn folks, I believe there are some very simple improvements that can greatly increase users’ experience and satisfaction. Let’s not wait for the acquisition to be fully in place for seeing these changes implemented.