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Why LinkedIn has made a mistake relegating status updates

Why oh why has LinkedIn taken a step backwards when it comes to making its site more sociable? I’m referring, of course, to the decision to remove status updates from profile pages. It was snuck through last December (I grumbled at the time) along with a few other changes, such as removing RSS blog feeds from company pages.

The reason why I think it’s such a bad idea is that in my opinion status updates are LinkedIn’s most powerful social feature and removing them makes profile pages, well, a little bit flat. Now, the only way of seeing someone’s status updates is in your status stream (your LinkedIn homepage), so you’ll only see very recent updates. If you want to see what a connection has been up to recently and visit their profile, status updates can’t be seen. It’s a shame because generally thinking I think the content people post on LinkedIn is a bit more thought provoking that the stuff you see on Twitter.

It’s also bad news for marketers who are amplifying the effect of their PR efforts by encouraging staff to share content through their status streams, as it reduces eyeballs on updates. Thankfully company status updates remain intact, raising the importance of promoting the company page and encouraging people to follow that.

It looks like a few other members are grumbling about the change too (comments quoted from the community pages):

“I just noticed this change and am NOT happy about it. Why do they have to take something that was working quite well and “improve” it by removing it altogether? I’ve been a LI member for years and reasonably happy, but the changes in recent months/years have left me more than a little disenchanted.” - Georgia Adamson

“It seems clear enough that we have reached a point where, for reasons beyond my personal comprehension, LinkedIn are now dumbing down their product offering. It strikes me as perverse to do this now, at a time when social media is gaining increased popularity amongst professional users.” - Andrew Pearce

“I’m rather disappointed about this – not least because they haven’t replaced it with something that does the same job. Like with a twitter profile, a person’s activity on Linkedin is a good footprint of their activities and interests. I hope that Linkedin doesn’t drop this feature altogether, or at least comes back with a similar one soon. If not, its an epic fail IMHO.” – Su Butcher

So, LinkedIn, please do us a favour and reinstate status updates on profile pages. And if you’re looking to improve the stickiness and sociability of the site, take a look at Groups – it’s long overdue an overhaul.

It’s not all bad news…

On the plus side, LinkedIn has improved the contact management feature recently, so it’s easier to sort your contacts and you can now see more about your connection history (such as when you initially connected) as well as adding notes and setting reminders.

Endorsements updated

Another minor improvement is the relegation of Endorsements. Before, you had them rammed down your throat, popping up as a banner on everyone’s profile pages and once you did endorse someone, the site tried to persuade you do endorse dozens of other people. Now you have to actively click “Endorse” to provide the equivalent of a personal Like/+1. This new feature also includes the Remove Connection function, which is a bit more obvious than where it was before.

Other changes afoot?

I have noticed these feature updates occurring over the past month or so, so who knows if there are any more lined up? Despite the status update change I still believe LinkedIn is ‘the special one’ when it comes to professional social networking, so let’s hope there’s more good stuff on the way.