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November 07, 2010


Some of the things you look for may already be available on LinkedIn, through their applications.

A presentation of work can be shown either by Google Presentation or SlideShare, and Creative Portfolio Display can feature a more graphics-rich layout. The concept of the 'mentoring/advising feature' you suggest exists in the Contact Settings under "Interested In", but it is requires a better focus and a search tool to be more useful.

I agree - wholeheartedly - with your suggestion to keep the number of connections private. I, for one, am unimpressed when people boast the numbers of contacts they have; there's a point of diminishing returns in networking credibility when the number of contacts reaches a certain point. Arguably that point can vary in the individual, but I believe it is safe to say several-hundred qualifies.


Charles - thanks a lot for the comment! Great points. I doubt people will bother learning about the more advanced features of LinkedIn unless the site gets a do-over and a sleeker look. It looks so basic right now that users expect it to only have the basic features that go with the barebones look.

I would also want the site to ask a bit more information about how long users have known their connections and in which capacity, how they rate the link between them (from weak to strong), etc, for it to become more useful. Email systems could play a role - after all, Gmail already has Priority Inbox; it could easily assign a "strength factor" to connections in an address book based on frequency of emails. That would prevent users from gaming the system by pretending they interact closely with every single one of their 500+ connections.

I found the discussion of LinkedIn interesting (as was the session overall). None of the panelists seemed happy with LinkedIn, but I also got no specific sense of what it was you all wanted (other than "better interface"). I'll confess that I signed up for LinkedIn with no particular goal in mind, and it has done perfectly fine meeting that nonexistent goal. :-) I only check in when I get a request to link, or when it pings me about a potentially interesting discussion (which is seldom), but I'm not sure what it could do that I would find more useful. (Disclaimer: I'm nearing the 18th hole career-wise, so I'm not looking to build a network of potential future employers.)

Since we're OR types, maybe we should start by assessing the objectives, then start looking for a solution. What do we collectively want from LinkedIn (or the "LinkedIn Killer" mentioned in the session)?

Thanks for your comment! My main issues with LinkedIn are:
(1) there is a wide range of strength between connections, and the system doesn't let you differentiate between "strong" and "weak" ones, or even say for how long you've known another user,
(2) it's too static - there is little incentive to go to the site regularly and I don't find the discussions particularly interesting. Many users log into Twitter or even Facebook several times a week (some people even log into Twitter several times a day), while the content on LinkedIn isn't updated often enough to warrant that kind of repeated use.

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