I read almost on a daily basis how great LinkedIn is: in connecting people, in getting you that next job or giving you the information that you need through groups.
But, as always, not all things are good.
I first joined LinkedIn in October 2006 and I used to simply search for jobs. This was in my early social media years (if you don`t take Hi5 into account) before I received my Bachelor and before learning how to use social media properly.
In my 8 years on LinkedIn, I noticed some things that the social network does NOT have.
First of all, it does not really connect people. Yes, it allows you to add people as friends or to join groups to discuss certain things. But a real industry was built around LIONs (LinkedIn Open Networkers) whose sole purpose is to get you to have as many friends as possible to “grow your network” and create ghostly benefits for you from this. In fact, open networkers are just people with more online connections than they need. Just like on Facebook you add everyone and anyone to have a huge number of friends…even if you don`t know them, ever talk to them or you even block their notices.
In its purest way, LinkedIn is a social network centered on its members. It gives members the tools (connect and join) to professionally network, but it doesn`t incentivize them to do this. Most members connect with everyone and simply spam their connections with useless things. Some also flood groups and discussions with adds, and even spam their connections with messages regarding jobs (they are searching for), services and products (they are selling).
A simple way of incentivize members would be to create another ranking system (besides the number of connections) showing the most active (in different fields, occupations etc.) and most valuable ones (in terms of participation to content created/creation). Of course, there can be many more criteria. Badges for this new system would be … mandatory.
Secondly, LinkedIn does NOT give you feedback. And I don`t mean on technical problems that you might have. I am referring to the fact that you can`t see the value of your network or the content you post. It gives you analytics on who viewed your profile, how many people liked or commented on the group discussions you started and even makes you a “Top Contributor” when your posts are highly appreciated. But, really, does it really show you why you should stay a member?!
Thirdly, for those looking for a job, LinkedIn is not really user-friendly. If you go to the “Jobs” page, you`ll see that the (free) search criteria aren`t too good. I can`t search based on exactly what I want because if I enter “food security” (for example), it will give me also the results in security and in the food industry, some of the results possibly opposed to what I am searching. LinkedIn needs to improve its search engine, not only that in the Jobs section, but also its main one that always you to search for people, groups, companies.
As a conclusion I have to say that I love LinkedIn and being there, but it really needs to improve. The small time-to-time tweaks aren`t enough anymore.