Very rarely have LinkedIn frightened me with an advancement of their platform. When they introduced Pulse, I was all for it. When they allowed mere mortals to give thought leadership content, I was on board. But their latest development has me scratching my head; questioning their strategy and generally just trying to make sense of what they were thinking.
LinkedIn have always been a great business trying to be a social network. They have been leaps and bounds ahead of the typical social networks in the sense that they have allowed professionals a “water cooler” around which to congregate. They have been able to hold intelligent conversation that does not have to compete with pics of what lunch you had; or what your offspring’s first steps looked like. It was professional and it was good!
With emoticons on LinkedIn I am not so convinced . It’s not that I have a problem with emoticons per say. In fact I use them all the time. On Skype. On Facebook. On WhatsApp. On social networks. On networks where it is accepted and encouraged. Not on LinkedIn.
I think what has me even more confused about their strategy is the placement of the emoticons themselves. They are only available in the “message” section of LinkedIn. In other words – the part of LinkedIn where we converse one-on-one with people. Where LinkedIn comes alive. The area where LinkedIn Premium gives us personal access to potentially some of the most revered and influential people in our respective industries…. Those people to whom I can now show a smiling coffee cup that says “meet up?”!
I guess one can argue that emoticons help us to be more approachable. That they are an accepted communication standard of our digital age. That the emoticon has allowed us to soften the blow of messages and display the tone of the message to the reader, rather than relying solely on their interpretation of it. But does that justify its inclusion in LinkedIn?
Personally – as I am sure you have guessed – I feel that there is a time and a place for emoticons and I don’t believe that adding them to LinkedIn is helping them become more of a social network.
Maybe this is a knee jerk reaction to the impending launch of Facebook Business? Whatever it is; I can only hope that LinkedIn don’t frighten me like this again in the near future.
As an aside. The first person who decides to use an emoticon in correspondence with me on LinkedIn will be unceremoniously blocked regardless of the intention of their contact.