Dear LinkedIn – Improve Please

While I’m ranting, I want LinkedIn to improve its contact management. I have all kinds of contacts. I want to be able to slice and dice the information on-board. I don’t want to always have to export a CSV and then sort it myself.

For instance, I’m pulling the “Greater Boston Area” to see who I want to invite to a private function. I’m doing scrape and clean-up because there’s no function to take their version of “Greater Boston Area” and export it. (If I’m wrong about this, please tell me how).

You’ve given me a powerful tool to connect with people. I’m connected. Now what?

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  • http://www.giannii.com Giannii

    I second the motion!

  • http://twitter.com/Britopian Michael Brito

    testing the comment feature w/Twitter.

    Oh, and I agree about Linkedin. : )

  • http://jasonkeath.com jakrose

    Agreed. They have a lot of room for improvement there.

    Also, god help you if your company is named a “.com”. It loops them all together. You would think a social networks would understand some companies have .com as a standard part of their name.

  • http://recruitingindustrybrandingandsourcing.blogspot.com/ David Benjamin

    LinkedIn started monetizing years ago and so now they have to figure out what to do next to provide value for free since other popular sites (twitter & FB) are essentially free. They most likely will charge when/if they get more advanced.

  • http://www.getverve.com/ Mike Ciolino

    Yes Linkedin is annoying when it won't let you do something you want to do – But I think that these limitations often make Linkedin such the great tool that it is. Some of us super-users – information slice-and-dicer's – want access to it all – all the time. I find Linkedin to have a quality vs quantity thing going for it. A slow down and build relationships the old fashioned way – earn the respect vibe. Sort of Zen … yes?

  • http://twitter.com/mariosundar Mario Sundar

    thanks for feedback, Chris! keep em coming! btw, you can contact members within different location groups on LI if it's < 50.

  • http://timbursch.com timbursch

    Great point. I have used Linkedin less b/c I can't do much with the data. It makes so much sense for them to integrate contact management. Hello.

  • http://www.thehotiron.com/ Mike Maddaloni – The Hot Iron

    I wouldn't bother – manage your contacts yourself outside of LinkedIn!

    mp/m

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/nigelwalsh Nigel Walsh

    Will it become the next plaxo… That was great in its day, but then kind of died.. I have seen a revival of recent times. I did see a post a while back about them moving into CRM.. That could be interesting, esepcially if we are all updating our own data and connections..

  • http://beyonditall.net/ Carla

    I totally agree (though I havent thought about it before). It is difficult to search for your contacts, etc with their system. Thankfully, I dont have too many to swift though.

  • http://twitter.com/ronanvance Ronan Vance

    I too have been waiting for LinkedIn to do more with contact management. It is indeed the natural extension, but when? And I would pay!

  • http://londoneater.com/ Kang LondonEater

    I hardly ever use LinkedIn to connect with people – in fact, I think its because its so corporat-y that I feel like people dress up their linkedin profiles in a blue suit and tie, thinking that they might be screened in a sort of online marketplace.

  • http://www.yargon.nl/ Henk Jan Dulon Barre

    I agree, isn't there a way to push LinkedIn a little bit.

    e.g. ask our networks to start discussions in some groups

  • JenWojcik

    Agreed.

    I use LinkedIn extensively for my work and to not be able to pull down a list of contacts in inane. I assume that they are attempting to “protect” their data from spammers, etc. which is frankly stupid as LinkedIn is so easy to game.

    They do at least need to make the functionality compatible with a CRM or provide additional services like these to “premium” members (which I am).

    Great tool…but very limited.

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  • http://www.patrickomalley.com/ Patrick OMalley

    Chris,

    There is a primitive way to do some of what you want to do, but it took a long explanation, so
    I wrote up an answer at

    http://www.the-linkedin-speaker.com/blog/2009/0

  • http://twitter.com/nealschaffer Neal Schaffer

    Hi Chris,

    Join the crowd of those who have issues with LinkedIn. It is great to see that Mario Sundar made a positive comment that he would share your feedback internally. But I have been blogging about LinkedIn for some time, and a lot of my posts have been about the shortcomings of the platform: http://linkedinquestions.wordpress.com

    As LinkedIn starts to become the Gorilla of Social Networking, there will be more and more demands on them to be more responsive to user feedback. Up until now, any type of feedback that was sent to Customer Service was just answered with a generic message. It would be nice if Mario or someone in LinkedIn Product Marketing could create an email address or something that we could provide LinkedIn feedback with and receive some sort of intelligent response. After all, it should be in the best interest of LinkedIn to listen to its users.

  • http://deanholmes.me deanholmes

    Chris, LinkedIn holds the keys to the castle here. Even when you are performing an advanced search, the structure of the reporting is terrible.

    As much data they have available, you would think you could easily export, segment and begin to actually use this – my good friend Patrick O'Malley http://patrickomalley.com and http://twitter.com/617patrick is a guru on SEO and LinkedIn, and I often discuss with him these issues.

    Hard to believe that this has not been resolved, yet they allow recruiters access to the rest of us (if you pay $499.00 per month).

    Come on LinkedIn – let us actually use LinkedIn!

  • http://deanholmes.me deanholmes

    Pat – referenced you on my comment – sorry missed yours here…

  • http://twitter.com/lawton_chiles Lawton Chiles

    I agree that their content management is a little out-dated or a the very least, very hard to use.

    I would ask Lewis Howes on twitter @lewishowes how to do what you need done. He rocks.

  • http://tinyurl.com/BlogOnLimit Guest

    In my opinion, not sure Linkedin cares for its users…

    http://tinyurl.com/BlogOnLimit

  • http://www.jtmar.com/ Christine Taylor

    Thank you for this. I thought I was just not seeing a setting. So I have to export as a cvs. DARN!

  • http://www.JibberJobber.com/blog Jason Alba

    Specifically regarding the idea of doing CRM in LinkedIn, there is a huge design/philosophy issue that must be addressed. Here's a scenerio:

    Right now, if I'm connected with you in LinkedIn, and YOU disconnect from me, I lose everything about our relationship.

    I'm assuming (I have asked LinkedIn but they haven't answered – it's great to see Mario respond here but hell, why won't he respond to anyone else?????) that if I have put in “notes” and some of the other CRM-like fields, they would also dissappear.

    What salesperson would ever let a prospect or customer delete themselves from the CRM? That is craziness.

    Technology-wise it's simple.

    But LinkedIn needs to figure out what it will do with regard to “privacy,” etc.

    If LinkedIn allows YOU to delete any metadata I put in (once you disconnect from me), that is a huge, huge problem.

    I strongly encourage people to get a CRM to complement their LI user experience. You know my choice of CRM… I'd love to see LinkedIn open up some simple, non-intrusive APIs to allow interfacing between their system and CRM systems. Hopefully that's coming soon.

    • NK

      Hi,
      We have realized the issues. Its going on for a very long time that linkedin has tried something new to improve the user expereince.

      We are in the developement of a tool we can stand against this 10 yr old professional networking site.

      We will be needed all your feedback and suggestions. We will be with you guys very soon.

  • Terri Davies

    Your comment to LinkedIn: “You’ve given me a powerful tool to connect with people. I’m connected. Now what?” I couldn't agree more. I am not using it to pull large amounts of data as you are, but my comment is that I feel that there is something quite stagnant about it. People put up a profile on LinkedIn and then promptly forget about it as they pick up where they left off on Twitter.

    I suppose I am just ranting as well. I can't think of how to improve it – just make it more exciting some how, give people more of a reason to return often…tall order, I know. ;)

    @sunstar_media

  • Robert

    Yes! If they could somehow fix the answer section from floating on my home page, it would be much appreciated.

  • http://www.jeroendemiranda.com Jeroen de Miranda

    LinkedIn would be an excellent (OpenId-) identity provider. I wonder if they have any plans in that direction.

  • http://twitter.com/dougmcsorley Doug McSorley

    Well said Chris! I've been wondering the same thing for some time now. Why do they make it so hard for us to sort through our connections. I tried doing something similar to what you did and it took me forever. I'm hoping LinkedIn will add some new features like this soon.
    DM (http://www.vinnydsomedia.com)

  • http://twitter.com/dougmcsorley Doug McSorley

    Great points Chris. I couldn't agree more with you. LinkedIn should change these features. I did something similar to what you mentioned and it took me forever. They need to add new features to address these types of issues.
    DM (via http://www.vinnydsomedia.com)

  • http://thelostjacket.com Stuartfoster

    Really interesting points (and dead on). Just like google calendar and contacts… everything should be exportable to a variety of different platforms. Integrated=Essential. If you can't fit into my life…you become less valuable as a service. Make yourself essential and succeed.

  • http://www.mybelizehouse.com John Madeira

    I agree with your Linkedin issue. The number of messages one can send thru Linkedin free account is also limited It is one of the reasons they give for upgrading to a premium account.
    One can export their accounts as a csv file. This file can be uploaded into a contact manager. This tends to be a pain in the ass as one constantly gains or loses connections.

  • http://twitter.com/SchwarzenbachB Brad Schwarzenbach

    Tippingpoint Labs talked about something you bring up at the VERY end of this post. “What now?” http://blog.tippingpointlabs.com/2009/04/twitte… While not directly related to the matter at hand, it raises what I believe is perhaps the biggest obstacle facing social networking sites: when you hit the functionality wall.

  • http://empoprise-bi.blogspot.com/ John E. Bredehoft (Empoprises)

    While the three suggestions in Andrew's “What now?” post are sound advice (as is the “What now?” concept itself that Andrew got from somebody or another), one thing that software developers can do is to provide their users with extensible tools that allow the users to do things that the software developer never envisioned. While it would be nice if LinkedIn provided unlimited sort capabilities on its own, perhaps they could make it easier to Chris to access his contact data via his preferred application, rather than having to resort to a CSV cut and paste.

  • http://twitter.com/SchwarzenbachB Brad Schwarzenbach

    I agree completely. I think a good social networking site will constantly enable their user base to extend the value of the content they've created. It's interesting how good channels are symbiotic that way. If the user isn't constantly innovating they grow bored and attrition rises, growth slows, channel value declines.

  • Andy Speed

    Ummm Guys,…..doesn't Linkedin cater for WEB developers /creatives/architects/innovators in its forums?

    Maybe they should call on that talent to help them out via a brainstorm session with a prize element involved for the most viable solution or is that too dumb?….and I will get my coat.

    Cheers

    Andy

  • http://detroit.fwix.com Jamie Favreau

    I love LI but I agree somethings need to be improved. I wish they would tell you about how many invites you have left too and how you get more.

  • http://twitter.com/SueTodd Sue Todd

    Yep totally with you on that LinkedIn's contact management could be better

  • http://www.twitter.com/willpao Will

    LinkedIn isn't going to improve because Chris Brogan slams on a table and screams, “Improve Dammit!” …Or will it? Yes.

  • http://www.characterdrivenmedia.com/ Justin C.

    How about some video in Linked IN? It would be nice to put a video intro of myself or a quick (1-3 min.) documentary of what I'm up to. Either that or make it so you can embed You Tube or Viddler videos on your profile page like my space.

  • http://jobadee.net/ Nick Green

    I have always had issues with Linkedin. I cannot understand why they have not improved the site. It feels like 2004 whenever I am there. I have had little luck with any networking at all…

    When will a competitor arrive and shape them up???

  • http://www.twitter.com/willpao Will

    Well, they're gonna be like Microsoft. They literally will sit and do nothing apparently unless they have competition. Their only true future threat is probably Yammer.

  • http://www.wecando.biz wecandobiz

    Only just found this post Chris and it's great to see someone questioning LinkedIn's capabilities, as I often feel I'm the only naysayer.

    My beef is that there aren't any real tools to help broker relationships with people who need what you do. Forty million members, many of whom will be buying products, services and solutions all day long and I can't easily find and connect with them. It's a shocking shortcoming for a business networking site.

    Anyway, in answer to your beef, I see what you are asking for as the role of Social CRM that sites like LinkedIn and traditional CRM systems will ultimately merge to achieve. What could be better than a networking site where everyone maintains their own profile, ensuring data currency; and your connections can then be cut and diced and have processes attached to them to help you grow the relationships you've made.

    It's interesting to note that SAP was an investor in LinkedIn's last funding round, so when it comes you could get much more than you asked for. Until then, taking tthat exported CSV and pulling it into your existing CRM system could provide the answers.

    We'll have Social CRM on our site next month. Salesforce.com and Facebook already have basic integration. I've blogged on Social CRM as The Perfect Business Application here: http://ow.ly/dfAB

    Ian Hendry
    CEO, WeCanDo.BIZ
    http://www.wecando.biz

  • http://www.loususi.com loususi

    very true … i think the most valuable and dynamic part of LinkedIn for me is the LinkedIn Answers … even though i know the intended use is to connect to your professional network with your business-card-like profile and use the contact information for various networking communications and scheduling, i still find Answers to be the most active and exciting area on LI … i bet i would start to really dig into the power of LinkedIn with improvements like the functionality you outline in this blogPost …

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