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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The problem with LinkedIn

LinkedIn recently rolled out their forum functionality, and proved in doing so that they do not really understand (or do not want to understand) what is happening with the rest of the world:
- First this is a case of being too late. Forum functionality is nice, but conversations are happening mostly other places these days. Not that it is obsolete, but really there are many other places where we can talk, and they have waited so long that most of the LinkedIn groups I belong to already have forums setup some other place (Google or Yahoo).
- Then they keep ignoring the fact that we have now a technology called RSS that is very convenient to stay aware of things. Instead, LinkedIn gives me an email alert of email digest. Another thing of the past, which is also still very useful, but where is the RSS feed that should also come with it?
What this second point tells me is that LinkedIn keeps trying to be a destination website, they are stuck in the web1.0 world when they should instead open their system as much as possible with APIs, RSS feeds, widgets etc...
While they are forcing me as much as they can to go back to the site, with an attitude that is starting to feel almost like abuse, companies like Plaxo will let me sign in with my OpenID, and are giving all the RSS feeds I want, plus groups, messaging, etc... One big thing for exemple is that Plaxo does let me send messages to people I am not directly connected to. And now that I can also have the detail of my professional experience on my profile, it is starting to look as if I might as well switch to Plaxo to do the bulk of my networking.
The gap is closing between the 2 in terms of what I get from the services, and Plaxo is looking like a much better bet moving forward. Unless LinkedIn decides to wake up and catch up with the world with something better than forums...