Years ago, my collaborator Kevin Jahne and I wrote a screenplay which included a restaurant scene. The waiter in this restaurant was singularly uninspired and only had one line which he repeated over and over again ... "Is that all?"
Today's LinkedIn improvements make that line echo in my brain. I cannot believe that major corporations that works in social networking can consistently come out with such uninspired improvements.
LinkedIn is sitting on the worlds largest database of professional relationships. Is that all the better they can do? That is just plain depressing.
Here are the new features:
1. A widget-based front end with (count them) three widgets. Three widgets is pretty much the modern equivalent of "any color so long as it's black."
2. Company News - LinkedIn will tap your network and tell you what people are reading ... as long as they are in your company and as long as the link is clicked from a LinkedIn data source. In other words, it's a very thin data stream.
That's it. The LinkedIn Blog touts some more, but the others are "new" in the sense that you can see them on this new page. But not really new otherwise.
What Blows Me Away
I have nearly 4 million people in my LinkedIn network. So, LinkedIn gives me this:
Start each work day by reading the most relevant news articles about your company, your industry, and your competitors through a Company News feed ranked by relevance and popularity within your company network.
Also, the five most read news articles (or blog posts) show up on your homepage and you can click through to see more. You can also browse through the articles that have been read the most by your colleagues this past week or in the past 2 weeks thereby providing you a complete history of the hot business topics in your professional world.
Did I mention 4 million people in my network?! The five most read articles by people in my industry or articles about my company doesn't help me much, if at all.
What would help me?
To be able to use my freaking network!
Why, oh why, can't I:
- Categorize people in my network?
- Rank people based on trust?
- Query subsegments of my network?
- Send messages to subsegments of my network?
- Form ad hoc teams based on my network?
- Invite subsegments of my network to specific events?
- Research the makeup of my network? (oh god! how I would love this!)
- See statistics on my network for deeper data than mere existence?
- Use LinkedIn to bridge to other applications like Facebook or Flickr?
- Conduct open source research?
- Connect directly to upcoming trade shows or conferences?
- and so on....
The value add LinkedIn can give me is the ability to really make use of this network. They have a given me access to millions of people, but it's like I can only shout at them over a wall. Come on LinkedIn! Go that extra step! Make LinkedIn really useful!