This is the now infamous LinkedIn Axeman. He appears in my status updates every time LinkedIn 'retire' a new feature
This is happening quite frequently as LinkedIn 'improves' the user experience. LinkedIn rarely explain why they 'retire' features, other than a standard corporate PR type message that talks about focusing resources into new areas to improve the experience. It is all in our supposed best interests, of course, even if we do not see it!
Most of us do not like change and to be fair, it is often needed. I have often moaned about change; months later I find that I am quite happy with a shiny new feature!
I do think, however, there is a serious issue that occurs as a consequence of dropping features...
The risk is that members will become reluctant to use features because they are concerned LinkedIn will end support for those same features! (tweet this)
Let me give you two new features that are suffering because of this;
LinkedIn Contacts is a fantastic feature; it is effectively a free social CRM system built into LinkedIn. So, why aren't people using it? Well, what happens if I write notes, add reminders etc, and then find they have all disappeared because LinkedIn changed its mind, and decided that this was not the direction they want to go!
LinkedIn Publisher Platform LinkedIn wants us to abandon blogging on Wordpress, or our website and instead restrict our content to LinkedIn. What happens to our content if they decide that the publishing platform was not such a good idea after all?!
Interestingly, I'm starting to wonder if the publisher platform will mark the end of the status update feature. Updates are primarily links to external posts and LinkedIn want us to stay on their platform so the master plan is to get everyone posting their content on LinkedIn so that 'sharing is all within LinkedIn. I discuss this point in more detail in the latest episode of my podcast LinkedInformed. If you haven't subscribed already then have a listen at http://linkedinformed.com/ or search for LinkedInformed on iTunes or Stitcher.
Someone recently commented that the 'Apply with LinkedIn' button that can be used for job adverts has recently been abandoned as well. Another feature which people could have invested time and money incorporating into their website, only to find it is no longer supported. I wonder if these people will be more cautious to adopt similar features in the future.
I don't enjoy it when LinkedIn remove features but this is not my point, the real issue is that LinkedIn may find that they are 'shooting themselves in the foot' if they persist with this policy and that is significantly more damaging because members may stop using features and eventually the site altogether.
The cycle of introducing new LinkedIn features and then dumping them because no-one uses them is a self-fulfilling prophecy (tweet this) and LinkedIn need to address this sooner rather than later!
What do you think?