When LinkedIn made major changes to the desktop design earlier in the year many users felt frustrated that features had been removed with little or no consultation. Stung by the negative reaction from members LinkedIn has been working hard to listen to users and win back their good will.
As well as restoring some of the deleted features LinkedIn has been busy adding in a raft of useful new features. I have listed some of the more important ones below in no particular order:
1. Ability to edit updates
Fig 1: New edit option on update menu
Unfortunately, we still can’t edit discussion posts in group which would be very welcome (LinkedIn are you listening?)
2. Pregnancy Pause
This is an important and if you will excuse the phrase overdue option. LinkedIn is planning to introduce an option for women taking time out with child birth to fill the gaps in their LinkedIn CV. Members simply add a new job as “Mom” at “The Pregnancy Pause” to your LinkedIn profile under “Experience” for the duration of the maternity leave.
Here is LinkedIn’s official video.
3. The profile custom image size has changed
The image has shrunk. The logic for this seems to be to make better use of the real estate at the top of the profile. Those annoyed one line text ads have been removed from the custom background image. For some reason the image is automatically darkened – I
am not sure why this is.
Fig 2: Custom image is now 1584×396
4. Connect button allows custom invitation
The blue connect button in search results now gives the option of sending a custom invitation. A connection invitation is the start of a relationship, I always encourage my clients to send personal invitations when possible. It may be a co-incidence but I have certainly noticed an increase in personal invitations since this change was made.
On desktop searches I also have a button which says “Preview Message”. I am not sure what this is supposed to do. Right now it doesn’t seem to do anything.
Fig 3: Custom invitations now available from search results
The connect button which appears in the list of “People You May Know” however, does NOT currently offer the option to add a personal message.
5. New “improve my feed” option
Following the restoration of the “top v recent” sort option for the home page feed, an extra “improve my feed” option has been added to the three dot menu at the top of updates in your feed. It allows you to add more topics of interest, also to see a list of who you are following and unfollow people in your network without disconnecting.
Fig 4: Improve my feed option
6. Adding images to threads
Some time ago LinkedIn announced it would be giving users the option to add images in group discussions threads. This hasn’t happened yet but last week it started to roll out the ability to add images to the thread on a post. Each comment now has a small camera icon in the bottom right corner.
In theory people could use this to post advertising images in a thread but in my view it would be a massive own goal as the posts would be quickly reported.
7. Number of followers for 2nd degree connections is now visible
If you scroll down to the activity section of someone’s profile it now shows how many followers that person has. For most people the number of followers and number of connections is virtually the same.
Fig 6: Number of followers are now shown for 1st and 2nd degree connections
Is this helpful? I suggest it can be. Previously if someone had more than 500 connections that’s all LinkedIn would tell you, so the person could have 501 or 50,000 connections. The size of a person’s network can be a useful piece of information when deciding whether to connect with them.
8. Recommendations options now on contact’s page
Fig 7: Recommendations options are now on connection’s page
9. Individual recommendations can be hidden
Although it has always been the case that you can choose whether or not to display a recommendation on your profile there is now an option to hide new or old recommendations individually.
When you publish an article on LinkedIn there is now the option to choose whether or not readers can leave comments. Most people will choose to allow comments but it’s good to give the user the control over that.
11. LinkedIn API no longer supports group posts
Although you can share an article with multiple groups from within LinkedIn from the end of June you will no longer be able to post to multiple groups using social media dashboards like Hootsuite and Buffer. Most of my LinkedIn training colleagues agree that this is a positive move which should help to reduce the amount of spam posts in groups.
Here is the official Hootsuite announcement about the change.
12. Date of connection
In the contact information of a 1st degree connection it now shows the date when you connected on LinkedIn. A small change but could be a good conversation starter.
Fig 9: Date of connection is now shown
13. New User Agreement
On June 7th LinkedIn updated the User Agreement. The changes are pretty straightforward including giving users more control over what data is shared. You should be aware that LinkedIn will be sharing your data more widely with third parties which is good for overall visibility, if you are not comfortable with this you can opt out here.
Whilst the changes I have highlighted here are not exactly transformational, they do suggest that LinkedIn is continuing to pay more attention to member feedback. There seemed to be a period when every LinkedIn update involved taking away features, in contrast many updates now are adding useful functionality.
There are still features which were taken away which I would love to see restored, for example, the ability to attach a recommendation to the relevant position, and the ability to see who has shared an article post but it does feel that things are moving in the right direction.
What do you think of the recent changes? What other improvements would you suggest?
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