LinkedIn is the rather unfashionable social media platform among the connected classes and the always-on aficionados.
For one thing it’s all about business, which means LinkedIn wears a virtual suit and tie. That tightly buttoned image makes it difficult for the platform to cultivate the rebellious swagger of Twitter or the recreational feel of Facebook.
I’ve also heard it dismissed as a site only of interest to recruiters or as a online CV posting point, which lets the opposition eye up a business’s talent. Worse, I’ve also listened to people dismiss it as a place where nothing interesting is shared or that has no practical day-to-day application for those involved in business.
All utter gubbins, of course. LinkedIn quietly gets on with the business of making money, because the number of paying users (as well as those who use it for free) keeps growing. Which means all sorts of people are getting value from it. On a daily basis I use it as an excellent news resource, an effective research tool and a useful networking aid.
Like all such social media/social networks it is constantly changing – and even though the frequent refreshes and revamps can be irritating, I’ve found most of those changes to be well-thought out and well-implemented.
Hell, even while critics were lining up to have a go at the much-maligned ‘endorsements’ facility, I held my tongue and find that each day I become slightly less indifferent toward it.
So I don’t lightly make the following complaint about the platform – and would love to know what others think?
Basically, I’ve always subscribed to the view that when it comes to making a connection, it is much better to personalise the message, rather than send the standard, automated version: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
Every LinkedIn trainer, enthusiast and heavy duty user seems to advise that to get the most out of the network it always pays to personalise your message when inviting someone to connect. Certainly, I always try to send a personal note and will think twice about accepting a request when it comes with the standard message, with no thought or effort put into it.
Which leaves me wondering why LinkedIn has failed to build in this personalised message option into the People You May Know page (see top image)? This is actually a really, really useful service. Virtually every time it appears there is someone listed who I think it would be useful to connect with.
But as soon as I click on the connect option up pops the message advising me that my request has been sent. No option to preview what is being issued and no option to add in my own message. Very, very annoying.
Even more vexing is the fact that if you get deep into your profile (to the invitations page), LinkedIn will serve up a more functional, less visually appealing version of its People You May Know Page (see second image) – and when you click the connect option here, you are immediately given the choice to send a personalised message.
Then again, I supposed I may be giving the whole issue too much thought. Still, I’d love to know your thoughts – personalise a connection request, or don’t bother?