The Continued Dreadfulness of LinkedIn

Posted in The Internet by Dan on January 20th, 2016

For months (years?) I have been baffled by the current iteration of LinkedIn’s timeline. Aside from it’s sharp-edged, drop-shadowed ugliness, there seemed to be no logic to what updates it would show and in what order. Sometimes you get stuff from today, sometimes it’s from last week. Worse still, every time you refresh the page you get something different. It seemed to me that the updates should be fixed in reverse chronological order as on other social media sites.

Today I received a brief glimpse of enlightenment from the helpful @linkedinhelp Twitter account. Apparently the timeline shows you the “most engaged updates” by default – although I’m not sure why these change constantly. There is a way to get it to list updates in reverse chronological order but it’s hidden beneath the least obvious piece of UI design I can remember encountering on a major website. There are three tiny grey dots in the gutter between two white panels at the top right of the timeline (below the “Share an update” / “Upload a photo” / “Publish a post” bar). Hover over this tiny target and you get the option of switching from “Top Updates” to “Recent Updates”. Maybe everybody else knows this but I didn’t.

Great, we’ve made it moderately useful again. No. This change doesn’t stick. Every time you reload the page it goes back to “Top Updates”.

LinkedIn hidden navigation

Can you find the display options menu?

Anyway, the reason I was talking to @linkedinhelp in the first place is because they have an unhelpful way of blocking invitations. It used to be that if you set your communication preferences so that people needed to know your e-mail address to connect with you, they would not be able to send you an invitation without it. Sensible enough. However, now they can send an invitation without knowing about this restriction and LinkedIn will not show it to the intended recipient. So you’re both in the dark. You have people who think that you have received their invitation and chosen not to accept it, which may lead to awkwardness. Instead the invitation is hidden away in a “Blocked invitations” list, which you need to go looking for. Mine contained several months-old invitations, some from people I actually knew who likely assumed I was just ignoring them. Had LinkedIn just told them they needed my e-mail address to connect they would have been able to get it from me via other channels.

These are just two of the many reasons I remain mystified as to why there appears to be no obvious direct competitor to LinkedIn. It’s a profitable business that could be done better.