LinkedIn’s Grand Design: Will Their Users ‘Like’?
7th August, 2012 | Posted by: Mark
The “world’s largest professional network”, which specialises in hooking up like-minded individuals and businesses alike for NSA CV thrills, recently rolled up in a new set of wheels. Is there any tread left on the tyres?
The redesign has not been without controversy; critics highlight a move towards social networking sensibilities as being something of a retrograde step in the site’s evolution. It seems that in embracing so-called ‘social features’, the company has migrated away from ‘Smart’ to ‘Smart-Casual’, although the Mountain View-based company are keen to emphasise the improved ease-of-use of the site over and above any sartorial changes. “We’ve started to roll out a simpler and easier way to navigate Homepage experience that offers quick access to the relevant information and updates that help you be great at your job,” sighed a canned statement from Caroline Gaffney, Product Manager at LinkedIn.
No Jacket Required
As such, the slacks and loafers may have to remain in cold storage for some time yet. So what are these ‘social features’ ? Outwardly, the home page remains defiantly ‘similar but different’, with ‘People You May Know’ and ‘Jobs You May Be Interested In’ positioned exactly where they were prior to the re-fit, and many the changes are small and understated. Images lose their border, and overall the focus is on providing larger images to enrich the user experience in this age of diverse DPI devices.
A more significant addition, one which serves to blunt the sharp lines of the company Pinstripe and arguably marks its shift towards a suit jacket and T-shirt combination, is the introduction of ‘LinkedIn Today’. Like. Share. Comment away. ‘Poking’ has thankfully not infected the site’s corporate lexicon, signaling some concessions to the professional origins of its remit and hopefully a considerably longer amount of time is yet to pass before users are asked to push each other’s buttons.
Instead, the more important changes are taking place very much behind the scenes. Updates at the top of the LinkedIn homepage are composed of articles and updates based on what your ‘network’ is reading, sharing and commenting upon, in a mindless ‘me too’ gesture towards the Facebook News Feed. Instead of a couple of flashes of dipped headlights in the dark hinterland of ‘between jobs’, users are now encouraged to swap and share positions on the topics of the day in an orgiastic riot of positivity, as well as ‘connecting with each other’ in the manner to which they are accustomed.
If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best
This adjustment of LinkedIn’s presentational tactics is doubtless an attempt to slip back into the two horse race between Facebook and Twitter from behind, in a fashion that will be simultaneously derided by those attached to LinkedIn’s strong emphasis on doing business, and welcomed by those who think Facebook is the internet.