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LinkedIn etc bashing

Wow.  Us social networking early adopters are a finnicky bunch, eh?  I understand completely that you may be becoming bored or have just out-growing last week’s new social network, I feel it – I am right there in the deep end with all of you.  But I feel as if there is a lack of comprehensive thinking in some of the blog posts lately, especially in regards to LinkedIn.

I posted about LinkedIn yesterday and about how many of my old contacts are now discovering it.  SURE, it doesn’t have feeds that give you up-to-the-minute updates on what all of your contacts are doing.  SURE, I can’t waste an hour playing with silly games and add-ons while navigating through it.  SURE, it seems to be a bit more buttoned-up in tone.  But I think that’s fine for LinkedIn.  It kinda works for them.

After the early adopters, there is the rest of the internet population to think about.  And I am not referring to the dinosaurs who still brag about not knowing how to make their VCR stop blinking 12:00.  I am talking about late 20-somethings and ealry 30-somethings who have JUST assimmilated into myspace.  These are the bulk of the population online now, outside of kids, and they are not tired of LinkedIn.  They are just getting introduced to it.

Our job as early adopters, imho, is to fix the networks for the masses.  So LinkedIn doesn’t work for your hourly updatable workflow.  Fine, use Facebook and Twitter/Pownce, but don’t openly bash another network as useless because you have a mild form of ADHD.  Rather, a more constructive approach would be to recommend changes and improvements.  And not ones that make it more like Facebook.  Facebook is more like Facebook.  There are tons of ways to leverage the communty and tone that LinkedIn has created.  Adding more usability and community functions would behoove that network much more that opening it’s API to random time wasting widgets. 

We are entering the next wave and it’s exciting!  The second shift of the population is now comfortable with the general audience social networks and are starting to explore the niche social networks.  This is what we all predicted and it’s happening.  Yay us!  Using the analogy of a party – we have been setting up the party decorations for a year now, the guests are finally arriving.  Try to sober up a bit so you don’t scare the guests away.

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Joi Podgorny has spent the better part of the past 2 decades working on the bleeding edge of the technology and entertainment industries, from content/brand development and production to leading international support, moderation, community and social teams. Most recently, Joi founded Good People Collective, a consulting agency focused on helping companies and organizations establish, assess and pivot their internal and external cultures to help maximize their potential. She and her team are currently working on an exciting new software project, combining corporate training and virtual reality.

8 thoughts on “LinkedIn etc bashing

  1. Great post, Linked in is a tool, not a way of life and doesn’t need to be hounded 24/7. You build your network and when you need somebody you call upon your network when needed. Now only if I could mashup my linked-in users with my gmail so I have all that linked-in data corelated with my gmail address book linked-in would be the best thing since sliced bread.

    -Jeff O’Hara

  2. “Our job as early adopters, imho, is to fix the networks for the masses.” That’s a great insight and points to an opportunity for the people who create these new social network tools. There are new ones coming online every day, each with a slightly different set of features, but with lots of commonality. Namely, enabling conversations. What I haven’t seen from the Twitter, Pownce, Spock, Facebook, gleemd, yadayadayada creators is an active program to engage the early adopters to have a conversation about ways to make their products better (“fix the network’). Perhaps it’s happening and I’m just not seeing it, but it needs to happen.

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  3. Jeff – Are you talking about more functionality than just syncing your gmail address book with LinkedIn?

    Doug – I agree. The emphasis has been, understandably, about building the killer apps that will get bought up, not about the big picture and how those apps fit into the the larger landscape, i.e. the average person’s lifestyle.

    Hopefully, as an industry, we can start thinking holistically on the macro level instead of constantly on the micro level.

  4. Hi Joi,

    Excellent post. I agree that LinkedIn is getting an unfair amount of criticism. LinkedIn is a really good, purpose-built site for professional networking, and Facebook, is, well facebook. I get tremendous value from the former, and not so much from the latter.

    To your point about “…I feel as if there is a lack of comprehensive thinking in some of the blog posts lately, especially in regards to LinkedIn.”

    I’m afraid I would have to say I think there seems to have been a lack of comprehensive thinking in designing / developing social networking apps of late. We are blessed and cursed with choices. Your comment back to Doug nails it: “The emphasis has been, understandably, about building the killer apps that will get bought up”

    WRT thinking holistically: Too bad we don’t have a feasible Universal ID yet… one key to the many kingdoms, with the ability to keep your personal network with you.

  5. Thanks for the call out, Bill.

    And I agree, I think a universal ID can’t be far off, as many of us early adopters are being very local about our desire for it.

    That said, I was chatting with someone the other day who has developed a very viable universal repuation system possibility which would need a univeral id in order to make sense.

    Baby steps, I guess. 🙂

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