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You’ve got to hand it to an organization that rolls out successive features and then makes changes that break things in a complex web later on.

Oh sure, LinkedIn has always changed things on the fly, as they wanted, without much notice or consideration – but now that the system is more complex, sometimes the pieces don’t fit together nicely any longer.

Let’s have a look at sending messages to fellow group members.

Re-invigorated from a peer’s poking

Jason Alba published “I’m On LinkedIn – Now What?” the same year as I came out with “The LinkedIn Personal Trainer”. Same concept that people need help figuring out what to do with LinkedIn, different approach. He’s got a web site over at ImOnLinkedInNowWhat.com and recently posted about the “sending a group message change“.

I’d looked at it while back, but hadn’t thought of a good way to talk about it, and let it go.

Jason’s right – it is a change.

The basics

When you searched on the site, you used to be able to click into a profile, and if you were a fellow group member, and the other person hadn’t turned off group messages, you could just click on a “Send a message” button to send them a short note.

That’s gone.

If you go to your group page, and look at the “members” list, you can search for and find the same individual in that list (through a keyword or their name) and send them a message – but only from that group member listing.

I think we’d all agree that it’s a pain and makes the system less simple to use.

But wait – there’s more

And here’s where the tangle comes into play.

Did you know that you can’t get introduced to someone that you share a group with?

My impression is that LinkedIn figured that since you could almost always send them a message directly through the group, who would ever want or need to get introduced?

And here’s a clip from the LinkedIn introduction help page explaining just that:

If you share a group with that person you will not have the option to utilize the Introduction feature. Instead, you will be able to click on “Send a message” from their profile and contact them directly.

Oh – did you notice that the help file explains that the “Send a message” button is right there on the fellow group member’s profile? (Except that it isn’t any longer)

Now you’re stuck

The smart people that introduced the group membership and communications portion worked with the people over at the introduction area and thought that having both features was overkill.

So they reduced the complexity of the page for us – makes it simpler.

But now the let’s-see-what-we-can-do-to-make-users-pay-for-membership people have taken away the easy group member messaging facility, and the end user is stuck.

And the documentation is wrong.

And I’d really like the option to get an introduction again if you don’t mind…

Revisionist history

Back when I wrote “The LinkedIn Personal Trainer“, LinkedIn had the bare minimum in help – a few FAQs that didn’t really do the job. So this site and others that had individual articles were about the extent of the help.

But over time, LinkedIn has introduced help with individual pages that are their word on a subject.  In most cases, these pages describe the system as it is today, with no mention of how it might have been in the past (or yesterday).

Perhaps they think we’ll all forget that it wasn’t always like it is right now;-)

Make do the best you can

And that’s my advice for the day – just hang in there, and share as you can.

Coming up – another tricky site change – look for it tomorrow!

To your continued success,

steve

Steven Tylock
http://www.linkedinpersonaltrainer.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevetylock