Thursday, July 3, 2014
Sunday, February 10, 2013
USER TRUST, the dope that can't be ignored in the race to monetizing cyber-social engagement – A commentary in light of the recent revamps to LinkedIn user experience
Okay, here goes…
FEW STATS & STATEMENTS..
With a market cap of over US$16 billion & revenues forecast slated at US$1.4 billion and supposedly* out-pacing the original social media biggie Facebook in terms of revenue v/s user base, LinkedIn is surely fanning the flames of market expectation of an aggressive performance coming year (*the revenue per user as of last financial year is ~ US$5, coincidentally for both LinkedIn & FB)
As a part of this expectation frenzy, the analysts have been postulating various acquisition targets based on LinkedIn’s need to grow faster, hence inorganically through acquisitions, though not all necessarily as pricey as Slideshare buyout and generate more revenues & earnings that’d justify its two years into public listing - In a funny kind of way, I feel the financial markets almost want LI to compensate for the laggard performance of Facebook J
SOME RANT & RIFFS..
As a regular user, I’ve been wearily noticing the rapid dilution of what used to be the core value-add of LinkedIn platform (vis-à-vis’ other social media) – its high quality user-experience!
While a major portion of this dilution happened through the unceremonious withdrawal of various tools & applications, a lot of it is also owing to the subtle or probably not-so subtle attempt to move away from being an egalitarian professional platform to becoming an elite platform where a few celebrities & myriads of followers exist at different levels of social relevance effected through a methodically tempered and manipulated 'visibility engineering' by the overseers……. not sure about what I’m saying?... ponder this;
Unceremonious WITHDRAWAL of apps
- Just like that, one fine day most used & adored apps such as MY TRAVEL (TRIPIT); EVENTS; READING LIST BY AMAZON (along with all my reviews), BLOG LINK et al are all gone!! - Ironically, the settings still point me to the applications page where all the above application icons still exist, but defunct.
The subtle social DISENGAGEMENT:
- STATUS UPDATE - No more one can use Twitter to update the LI status, the other way is possible though. Also, the status update is now “just one more activity” on your profile & the moment you post a comment on anything else, your status update goes into hiding below. Furthermore, your comment on a LI article itself is never shown, but a grab of the article on which you commented is displayed on your profile
- ENGAGEMENT - The LinkedIn Answers is gone…. taking with it the zillions of high quality & ‘free’ opinion and advice
PUTTING STATS & RANTS TOGETHER..
Reading the trend of vanishing apps & features together with the names of potential acquisitions floating about, it does appear LI could end up acquiring and integrating a few companies such as;
- VIADEO & ChinaHR - to ramp up the user-base and thus the revenues
- QUORA – to compensate for Answers & recreate the lost cause of stimulating user engagement.. and finally,
- DEMANDBASE – to optimize the momentum of COMPANY pages and create a B2B integrated transaction platform
Essentially, when the analysts out there propose these acquisitions, it’s all about money, valuation, market capitalization & essentially monetizing all the user-base unabashedly quite like what FB is trying to do.
THE MOMENT OF TRUTH..
But of course, these are enterprises after all and they’d want to make money & people who invested in those want them to make money. But when the very basis of a business is its user base, their interest and trust in the platform and it’s ethos, I am not sure if the solely revenue-inspired changes LI is affecting make complete sense.
I want to believe when LI web-page redirect I landed on says “We'll be focusing our efforts on the development of new and more engaging ways to share and discuss professional topics across LinkedIn” – I very badly want to……. I love/ loved being on LinkedIn, I want it to sustain my interest, I do want to still confide all my professional details to the platform without having a niggling doubt that LI is only teasing-out information it could use commercially and blocking-out information it can’t monetize – only I don’t see many signs of it. I, an average but avid social media denizen am not surely alone in this feeling of the user getting left high and dry in this chase of valuation.
I hope LinkedIn is listening & FB eavesdropping..... Please don’t do the mistake of taking the user for granted 'cause on a social media user is the primal stakeholder.
Is LinkedIn itself a candidate for take-over? I’d think so - it’d be the right acquisition for any company out there trying to dominate the cloud scene with an integrated gadget to boot. Would one of you gentleman please raise your hand? Tim, Jeff, Larry… anyone….??
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Should I Bother With Your Message? Persuade Me! on LI by Esther Dyson
With all respect to the departed soul, I'm starting to get why Aaron Schwartz decided to end his life...... sender of a message pays on a social network? - Monetizing a few lines as though it were a validated piece of patented intellectual property? – bad enough reason for any cyber-socialist to give-up on hope and die!
I remember & believe that cyber communities/ DBs started out in a spirit of sharing knowledge, thinking & perspective with whoever displays a similar trait to engage & evolve. If companies like LI & FB monetize this engagement for their own stock valuations, I still understand, particularly seeing how FB is struggling with its sub-par listing & trading post such a hyped-up public issue. What I don't understand is the increasing tribe of self-appointed thought-leaders & experts who believe a mere mail to them deserves a valuation!!!!! – Is it that I should’ve been a citizen of Pandora OR Is this really the most obscene manifestation of assumed self-importance?
If I have a need that requires me to pay to someone just so that he/she receives my mail in a non-spam folder & for which he/she may not necessarily respond even, I’d think my need itself is ill-articulated &/or illegitimate and the person whom I’m trying to pay to get through to isn’t worth reaching out to after all
Indeed, a good self-image is important in life..., but gents & ladies extreme self-importance is avoidable - never forget the “Rule Number 6” (http://dannyhageman.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/never-forget-rule-number-six/)
Saturday, November 24, 2012
It has happened! - the progressive, unavoidable & of course overt monetization of the cyber social space has made me invisible to myself let alone others on my own home page!
I’ve been noticing that my status updates aren't what they used to be....., LinkedIn hides them on the side-bar, FB sweeps them under the carpet of paid postings & decorates them with weird hyperlinks and Twitter turned into a whimper for all non-celebrities. The marginalization of my thinking on LI is so complete that my comments on the LI Today articles don't show-up on my activity nor I get any email alert for the same! & I'm a bit too old fashioned to spam my way to attention by liking, sharing every crap out there & post remarks against updates & articles on which I neither have an interest nor knowledge on.
Without sounding too narcissistic, I want to admit that I'm none too happy with many of my posts, comments, observations & tweets, thereby much of my perspective that I feel has some merit doesn't get enough eye balls to gather others perspective & thus validate my own.
Hence here I'm again, blogging after a mammoth sabbatical of 66 months! Without being repetitive in this era of information overkill, here I'll try and only recapture some of my social media updates, if not for anything else, as a way of chronicling my own honest thoughts in one place and thus escaping the drudgery of having to go through reams of digital pages before I can find out what I've said earlier in 2010 on LI/ FB/ Twitter.
If in the bargain I get some audience..., hey why not? bring 'em on :-)