Last week, LinkedIn announced that companies would be able to publish status updates, just like the ones published by individual users. Many LinkedIn users have hailed this as a welcome improvement, but I’m convinced it’s a step in the wrong direction. For starters, I think it’s the latest example of the feature creep that’s making LinkedIn a little less user-friendly. But I also think it goes against one of LinkedIn’s strongest points of differentiation: up until now, every connection on LinkedIn was made person-to-person, not organization-to-person or organization-to-organization. Yes, users could “follow” companies, but the activity communicated through these follows was largely the result of changes to profiles made by individuals at those companies. That made for a nice distinction from the likes of Twitter or Facebook, since every connection made on LinkedIn was, by definition, made with another person (excepting, of course, a few organizations that violated LinkedIn’s terms of service, either actively or passively).
Why do I think this is a step in the wrong direction? Two primary reasons:
1. First, it puts another item on our social media to-do list. If companies must now identify admins, then LinkedIn users identified as admins will have to spend time posting on behalf of the company. That means they’ll have a little less time to interact with others one-to-one.
2. More importantly, it ignores the fact that relationships have historically been built on LinkedIn in exactly the same way they’ve been built in the real world: person to person. None of us, after all, has a relationship with a business so much as we have relationships with individuals at a business. Personally, I’d much rather determine what’s worth my attention based on the cumulative information shared by all my contacts at a given company than by what’s shared by a disembodied voice of the company.
So, what’s your opinion of this change? Are you looking forward to sharing updates from your organization and receiving updates from other companies, or do you think LinkedIn would be better if it retained its unique person-to-person connection?