Is LinkedIn a Learning Platform?

Full confession: I spend more time on LinkedIn than Instagram. My friends make fun of me when I tell them this. It’s embarrassing because LinkedIn is easily the least exciting social platform to spend your precious internet time on. But I speak and write about emerging careers and trends in upskilling, so LinkedIn is part of my daily internet consumption routine and embrace the awkwardness of it.

This week LinkedIn popped a recommended course into the top my feed.

That action reminded me that LinkedIn has an entire catalogue of courses on offer, a fact that I’d totally forgotten. Clearly this was the intent of the designers. They wanted to remind users like me that LinkedIn isn’t just a place to read professional #inspo stories of people you don’t know.

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LinkedIn’s mediocrity is killing me

I’m a LinkedIn power user. At Yale SOM I lived on LinkedIn: reaching out to global employers, training global executives how to be thought leaders, and teaching students how to search alumni and track opportunities. These days I use it only slightly less with more focus on building partnerships and teaching students in my online courses how to use it.

So I say this with much love and experience: LinkedIn is so ridiculously mediocre.

I can’t for the life of me understand how a company with so many users and Microsoft-backing still spends so much time trying to get me to spam my inbox.

Yet when I get those connections, LinkedIn makes it ridiculously hard to organize and keep up with those connections.

My connections are all parked in a feature-poor list. If I’m looking to connect with someone working in fintech in Seattle, the sort feature offers little to help me find them (when’s the last time you remembered a conference contact by their first name?) Even the search feature doesn’t work properly:

Results of my Seattle search, where I’d wager 25% of my professional contacts reside

Yet when I want to search alumni from my school, I get this incredible, visual, search feature.

Why isn’t this feature replicated for contacts? If the point of LinkedIn is to stay connected to your contacts, why don’t they make it as easy as possible to find and visualize your contacts? (side note: What is the point of LinkedIn?)

Also, it’s worth noting that this is the result after they redesigned it to be more user-friendly.

Then there are all the attempts to get you to upgrade.

Not sure that’s the best way to motivate me to use premium.

LinkedIn is also pushing the online learning opportunities. There too I find their suggestions and course-dump lacking.

 I have zero connection to digital arts or animation.

LinkedIn has all the resources, deep data, and millions of users. Yet these are the results.

LinkedIn, hopelessly mediocre.

Someone tell the CEO of LinkedIn how to use LinkedIn

Maybe you’ve noticed lately that LinkedIn is suffering from serious Facebook creep. And here we have proof: Jeff is searching for show recommendations from his professional network.

Which just leaves me with questions:

Does Jeff have friends?

Does Jeff hate Facebook?

Did Jeff read the 546 recommendations from rando connections?

What’s the use of LinkedIn’s newsfeed anyhow?