There is one inescapable fact: our world is becoming increasingly interconnected as a result of the digital phenomenon of social media. There are currently 1.65 billion users on Facebook alone; a number that accounts for a major percentage of the world’s population. Where platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest provide places for friends to connect and share interests, there is also a platform that is a social network for colleagues: Linkedin. Linkedin is a great place to connect with former coworkers, to post your resume and work history for potential employers, and to market your business or services you provide efficiently, but with Microsoft’s recent purchase of the social media giant, not all users are entirely satisfied; as a matter of fact, some users who have expressed loyalty to the platform in the past are downright angry with the recent changes including yours truly. It seems that LEXIT is here for some very good reasons.
The Altered User Experience of the Newsfeed
The user experience is a major selling point for any type of software platform; a quality user experience tends to drive customer value. With the newest crop of changes, Linkedin has adopted a more Facebook-esque user interface that populates a newsfeed-style main page every time you log on to the site. In the past, this newsfeed featured more professional events and articles, so we didn’t have to worry about seeing too much in the way of birthday parties and weekend trip photos, but that has changed and LinkedIn appears to be driving it to a point that has many users dismayed.
Unfortunately, with this new polluted newsfeed, it has now become unacceptably difficult to find an important connection, keep track of ad spends, and find recent posts by important business contacts. Your newsfeed not only features your business contacts but will populate posts by people that you potentially may know. The end result is a feed of articles published and posts by people that you have no reason to connect with, which is very inefficient. Of course, you can unfollow or at least hide particular posts, but your true connections end up being buried in the new experience.
What happened to Pulse?
Pulse and it’s content channels disappeared. You can no longer access specific channels or influencers with the ease of use that once existed. In addition to this, it is now mind-bogglingly difficult to find the publish feature on Linkedin; a real shame considering that is how many marketers get noticed. Considering that this is one of the features that many business people pay for Linkedin to utilize (though it’s not a premium-exclusive feature yet), I find it a bit strange that they would make it so counterintuitive to find.
A New Pricing Structure
This is a major change in the way that Linkedin does business. Previously, there was a set pricing structure for different Linkedin users. So that customer value wasn’t floundered, recruiters, job seekers, marketers, and general business owners all had different pricing for Linkedin service. Here is a breakdown:
Firstly, with the new Recruiter structure, there are now two pricing plans for recruiters to use Linkedin. The entry-level program is Recruiter Lite, which allows for HR people to have access to 30 inMail messages, complete with templates, some advanced search functionality to seek candidates, and unlimited profile search within LinkedIn’s network.
While this might seem like a great tool for finding candidates, Linkedin has bottlenecked its functionality so that job listings in high demand areas now cost more than in low. Also, Linkedin can track your degree of success using its Recruiter platform, so that if you’re making significant new hires with its system, it can adjust your monthly fee, which starts at $99.99 per month for the Lite version.
Many of the detractors for this new pricing system feel that this punishes companies that employ broader hiring practices and that, while this does seem like a solution that targets larger companies who are seeking more candidates, there are mid-level companies that will feel the heightened cost of recruiting through the Linkedin platform. Understandably, this is causing HR divisions to feel a bit raw when reporting about the heightened cost of recruitment, with many feeling that their loyalty to the platform is being punished.
To add further insult, when I canceled my premium subscription, LinkedIn took away all my unused Inmail credits. That really burned me up since I PAID for those. I haven’t received any cash credit back from LinkedIn and I’m not holding my breath. Can they be any more “anti-customer” going forward?
Now for my biggest pet peeve, the connections feature. This feature was the entire backbone for which LinkedIn was built upon and it has all but been destroyed. Users can no longer utilize their connections they spent hours and hours tagging. LinkedIn claims they are trying to discourage spammers yet by taking away the ability to communicate with tagged categories of connections your only option is to communicate your message to all your connections. Confused? I am and so are many others. As a matter of fact, I canceled my premium account and posted my thoughts a couple of weeks ago and was shocked at the overwhelming user responses. I received 2,323 likes and 538 comments including the ones listed below and they are still coming. The sad part is that LinkedIn doesn’t care. I read through the comments and found a LinkedIn employee among them. He was less than sympathetic to current user concerns and emulated the arrogance that continues to grow at this once wonderful organization that has now sadly forgotten their loyal early adopters.
Erik Berg: LinkedIn keeps increasing the cost of a paid subscription while simultaneously reducing services. It will be interesting if Microsoft sees LinkedIn as an opportunity or a revenue source. The services I gained from a paid subscription sure weren’t justified by the cost.
John Jost: I canceled my premium account on 7/13.
LinkedIn is extremely unfriendly and the help desk was never staffed.
David Towner: I canceled my paid membership because it’s turning into Facebook for old, lonely people who have no social circle so they spout their political and religious garbage on here I’ve cut hundreds of connections but it still happens. Years ago, Linkedin was a highly effective business networking platform. It’s turned into social media
Ken Summerfield: Hi Tricia I have also just canceled my Premium membership for exactly the same reason. Premium membership is ridiculously expensive and not worth the money in my view
Brigette Hyacyth: Very true Tricia! #LINKEDINlosttouchwithusers because they are operating in a bubble. They come with what they think is a great idea and just implement without customers input or feedback. Then when you log on ‘Surprise!”
This won’t be a long tantrum. LinkedIn’s Search just sucks. It started when they began limiting the number of search results that could be delivered back to you to force you to a paid model. Yet the functionality continued to erode. When you offer a platform for free you don’t force someone to purchase by taking away features that were free. Instead, you offer them new and improved features, additional functionality, apps, webinars, special communities, elite member programs, training, support, etc.
The Microsoft Factor
With its recent acquisition by tech giant Microsoft, there are definitely a few concerned enterprise users who are beginning to worry as a result of all of the recent changes. Microsoft hasn’t had the best history when it comes to platform purchases. While the company has been doing great with its own programmatic releases in the last few years, with a better Office 365 experience and improved user experience with its Windows 10 platform, the company has also dropped the ball when it comes to its recent purchases of Yammer and Nokia. So will the platform change drastically under Microsoft’s banner? I can’t help but wonder how they could possibly make things worse.
Linkedin is one of the most successful social networks in the world; possessing 414 million users globally. I hope the company can right itself and return some of the good sentiment that it’s been building over the years. It’s downright heartbreaking to see how such a useful platform has abandoned its users and thrown the user experience out the window. For now, LEXIT continues.
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At Lucas Select, based in Raleigh, NC, we are passionate about technology startups and about sales and marketing as professions and have built extensive national networks of top-performing executives and managers. Unlike typical staffing agencies and headhunters, our recruiting services ensure that your company maintains a sustained growth model that is supported by strong sales management, talent recruitment at scale balanced by on-going people development while aligning with your Company’s core values.