I love LinkedIn Group Discussions, but there is quite a bit missing which is holding LinkedIn back from being awesome-er. Here’s my top ten list of suggested improvements:
1. Allow top level searching on Discussions
You can search discussions within individual groups, but not from the LinkedIn home page any more. It would be nice to use LinkedIn as a reference source, but without a global discussion search this isn’t possible.
2. Allow up-voting and down-voting of individual comments
There are some comments on LinkedIn discussions which are pure gold and should be highlighted as such. Some of course are dross and equally should be flagged. Most next-gen discussion boards have this feature. LinkedIn has the Like button, but only on entire threads, not on individual comments.
3. Split, sort or filter comments into for and against
The most popular threads can run into hundreds of comments. There is no way to sift through the arguments. It would be good if the screen was split between pro and con or comments could be flagged one way or the other and then allow the user to filter and easily review the arguments.
4. Needs more verbs than just “like”
How about agree, disagree and don’t like?
5. User credibility score and rewards
When reviewing discussions I often will investigate who has made a comment as to their credibility. Before weighing into a conversation it is sometime important to know who you are engaging with. Are they marketing or selling something perhaps? Is their view biased in some way? A credibility score for users could be something as simple as a sum of up-votes. Some discussion boards also add elements of gamification by giving rewards for specific achievements… your first up-vote, your 100th comment, etc. Achieving certain credibility milestones could unlock functions like moderation capability, or the ability to down-vote a comment.
6. Better sharing options
Currently the sharing option against a discussion allows you to post to your update, post to groups and individuals within LinkedIn and also post to Twitter. Where’s the ability to post to other social networks, email or even embed?
7. There is no Group SDK or API – UPDATE: now there is
LinkedIn were very late in providing an SDK. They have done well to attract 100 million users without one, but I think the community would be much bigger if they have published their APIs years earlier. There are still no published APIs to the Groups function in LinkedIn. UPDATE: I was interested to read within hours of writing this post. LinkedIn finally annouced an API for Groups. See here for details.
8. There is no Group function on the iPhone app
The LinkedIn iPhone app is shockingly bad and this is one of its biggest problems.
9. Add Tags
Allowing tags to be added to discussion threads would help users to sort, categorise and easily find interesting topics.
10. There is no iPad app
Well, there you go. That’s my starter for ten. Have I missed anything? I never mentioned Search Engine Optimisation; ignore buttons, embedding media and html into comments, or word limits. What would you change about LinkedIn Discussions?
Author: Paul Saunders