The LinkedIn Meltdown!
Welcome to another episode in what has been a difficult week for LinkedIn and many of its members.
I have two main topics to discuss this week;
- LinkedIn seize control of LinkedInLocal events
- LinkedIn had a meltdown this week with millions of users discovering that their profiles were invisible!
Interesting Stuff I Saw This Week
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Feedback from Previous Shows
I was contacted this week by listener Josef Konrad Radomski from Canada who enjoyed the feed analysis I covered last week. Josef decided to conduct his own research and came up very different results!
My thoughts: Josef has very few connections but follows a much higher number of people. Sometimes the people that are highly followed are the ones that engage the least (other than on their own posts) so that probably explains the low % of comments.
- Organic reach is decreasing (Next weeks subject)
- LinkedIn are trying to prevent pods from working. Mark is not using a Pod but he does work in a niche market and LinkedIn might see that his engagement is often from the same people and think he may be in a pod! I have heard feedback from people that are in pods who are seeing a quite dramatic reduction in engagement and views. I’m not seeing a drop but my audience is more wide-ranging than Marks.
LinkedInLocal. Is this the end of LocalX?
LinkedInLocal has been a massive success story with events popping up in 90 countries, 650 cities with 2,000 hosts that have raised over £100,000 for charity.
Last year, the four founders of the movement created LocalX as I covered in episode 219
This was done because, whilst LinkedIn were not discouraging LinkedInLocal events, they were also showing no interest in managing or overseeing the growth of this movement. So Alex, Anna, Ryan and Manu spent much thought, time and effort into creating a website where people could organise and promote their events. In addition, the team has been careful to ensure that all hosts are screened to make sure that every event is run to the core principles of LinkedInLocal – mainly that events were not for profit and that the environment would be one of getting to know your local LinkedIn members without any pitching (something unique for networking events).
Then this week, the LocalX team announced that they would be handing over the LinkedInLocal community to LinkedIn. Here is what Alex had to say about it;
LinkedIn have said very little (as usual) other than to add this to the help center;
Here is a beautifully written article from the Anna Mcafee who was the originator of the #LinkedLocal idea and founder member of LocalX
LinkedIn have shown a very ugly side of their values here demonstrating considerable ignorance and/or arrogance. No mention of thanks to the LocalX team who they have been in discussions with for some time. It’s clear to me that they believe that LinkedInLocal has grown organically purely because of the LinkedIn brand and their focus is to control and manage the brand (#LinkedInLocal and LinkedIn) and ensure that it continues to grow. They see the best way of doing this is to allow anyone to set up an event, no screening as that would be too much like hard work and will limit the growth. They are also happy for organisers to run events with a profit motive which will inevitably mean that charities lose out!
I can’t pretend to be surprised….this is completely consistent with the culture of the organisation and its ethics. It’s also typical behaviour for a Silicon Valley tech business. If you want more insight on that, I would strongly recommend reading the book Zucked by Roger McNamee.
In effect, this means that anyone can create their own LinkedInLocal event, so long as they follow the (somewhat ugly) logo brand guidelines. So Mr Snake oil salesman in Grimsby can create one a week before a (previously LocalX) event is happening. No control, just a free for all. So Grimsby could end up with 3 different LinkedInLocal – Grimsby’s. One run by former LocalX screened hosts with a ‘no pitching’ principle, another by Mr SnakeOil and then a 3rd might crop up, perhaps a failing local networking group that decides to use the LinkedInLocal brand to boost numbers…..People who want to attend won’t know which one to go to, the numbers will be diluted and all three will probably decide it’s not worth the effort!
All that said, I’m not totally against this.
I hate the way they have done it and I feel for Anna and Alex (I don’t really know the other two) but LinkedInLocal is primarily about meeting LinkedIn members in person, the key thing in all of it is the connection to LinkedIn. LocalX and the non-pitching philosophy is great but it’s not going to be for everyone. I personally wouldn’t want to attend one but if people prefer to pitch at a LinkedInLocal event, then they should be allowed to. In some areas, there may be a turbulent period as described above (just an example, I’m not aware this is happening in Grimsby!) but it will eventually sort itself out.
I believe that the core principles and origins of #LinkedInLocal will survive and prosper in this new era. LinkedInLocal communities will continue to prefer non-pitching, non-profit making events. LinkedIn is a company and a website but it’s also a community of business professionals and it will be that community that decides whether LinkedinLocal prospers, not the company or the website!
I forgot to mention last week that I was looking for a successful April Fools post to highlight as this weeks post of the week. So without any nominations, I had to go searching for one myself. It was noticeable that many companies were posting lame April fools posts from their company page and they all fell flat – I can just imagine the enthusiasm of the Social media agency rep, selling the idea of a joke post on Monday, only to see their efforts go to waste!
I did eventually find this post
I do love a good spoof post! Interestingly Keir went on to make the below video about the impact this post had and what it taught him about organic reach vs company page updates or ads. This links with what I have discussed before and actually links nicely to the subject of next weeks show (Has organic reached peaked?)
The LinkedIn Meltdown!
It’s been a very poor week for LinkedIn. We’ve had glitches and bugs that are widespread before as well as issues with content disappearing (not widespread) but in my memory, nothing quite as catastrophic as happened to thousands, in fact probably millions of users this week.
Here’s a video I posted about it;
You wouldn’t have known you were invisible unless someone tried to find you and couldn’t! Typing your name into the search bar gave no results, neither did keyword searching and you couldn’t be tagged on a post…what on earth happened?
Fortunately, the issue seems to have now been resolved. I was ‘invisible’ for 3 days, for others it was for about a week. This week my profile views have dropped by 16%, that in itself is not unusual – I will often have weeks where profile views drop because I have been inactive but this week I have been very active and I would have expected to see a decent rise in profile views!
This is completely unacceptable!
Recruiters search results will have been affected without them knowing, even those who are paying a small fortune for Recruiter accounts. As a result job seekers may have missed out on important job opportunities.
One interesting angle to this was discovered by Alan Walker in this post
The growing gap shows clearly that, at this stage, the problem was gradually getting worse as more of his connections became invisible in search results.
Maybe I’m being a bit unforgiving, mistakes happen and glitches appear. What concerns me though is that I suspect this could have been prevented. When issues like this occur it’s often caused by LinkedIn adjusting something, or testing out a new feature in the background. They don’t think through the consequences of their actions. It’s a classic example of the ‘Move fast and break things’ philosophy made famous by Mark Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook but a technique that is commonplace amongst silicon valley tech companies.
The problem is that we suffer as a result! If I was paying for LinkedIn recruiter I would be asking for a refund!
As usual, LinkedIn have made no public statement apologising for the inconvenience caused and explaining what happened other than jumping onto posts about the issue and spewing out their standard ‘known problem’ message. Maybe they are waiting until the issue is fully resolved, I’m not going to hold my breath though!
This, however, is a new move for LinkedInHelp, they have created this personal profile (against the terms of service by the way!) and presumably, some sort of AI is searching for relevant posts and posting a comment. This would be good if the comment actually informed you of something meaningful, especially an update explaining what went wrong and what they are doing to fix it. I’m sure some people at LinkedIn have been working extremely hard to fix this but we are never told of such things, instead, we are left to stew and get frustrated!
That’s all for now, I feel like I had a good old rant this week!….it’s been a while!
Let’s hope we all have a more productive week ahead of us.
Until next time….