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LinkedIn needs to work on this missing functionality
For years, I have heard from many people that they miss this functionality for LinkedIn, namely being able to track who follows and unfollows them. I am surprised that LinkedIn hasn't grabbed this opportunity with both hands. Especially given the current turmoil at Twitter, uh, X, and also with the arrival of Threads.
LinkedIn allows people to build a network of up to 30,000 connections. Yet at the same time, LinkedIn offers the possibility of following an endless number of people. This actually negates the limit of 30,000 connections. With that, LinkedIn has a functionality similar to that of Twitter, for example. Because social connection and knowledge sharing are gold for the working life, and LinkedIn knows that all too well.
Adults from all over the world and of all ages have a LinkedIn account. In recent years, the number of people who actively use LinkedIn has grown exponentially. This means that LinkedIn can take a leading position in anything that does not come close to virtual and augmented reality. For example, consider the metaverse.
LinkedIn can bring social minimalism, or efficiency and tranquility, to how people consume social media. Because, in an ideal scenario, people use one platform for virtually all social interactions, especially if they don't do anything with Facebook or Instagram-like posts.
Meanwhile, I have been hearing from many people for years that they miss a functionality on LinkedIn. Specifically, to keep track of who follows them and who unfollows them. LinkedIn has not picked up on this yet. There seems to be an exodus from business traffic on Twitter. That is precisely the traffic that will continue on LinkedIn. It is time for LinkedIn to take action, you might think.
I am also surprised because LinkedIn's customers have been asking for this automated, built-in capability for so long. Therefore, it seems to me that it is not unimportant to respond to the general wishes that people have.
Add or remove a friend as a connection?
I can well imagine the need to keep track of who follows and unfollows us on LinkedIn. Aside from ego-related motivations, it can provide insights into when people follow and unfollow us. As people build their network on LinkedIn and take next steps in their careers, they lose sight of a lot of connections. As well as insights into what the views and positions of those connections are in relation to their work.
In addition, everything is data today, including how business operations are based on issues such as supply and demand, content, and the general interest in the content of the work. These matters can be measured in different ways, although context and interpretation are still crucial to drawing the right conclusions.
Think of how often people respond to or like something, also known as engagement. But also whether patterns can be found in what people do and do not follow, based on the content. Whether people are followed or not. For those who like to send periodic newsletters via LinkedIn, the patterns in the followers and unfollowers are, of course, also important.
I think it is a great loss and missed opportunity that I cannot get an overview of who follows and unfollows me via LinkedIn. Because the consequences of in-crowd and out-crowd are nowhere more visible in society than in working life. Think of matters such as diversity, inclusiveness, information bubbles, and democratic developments around knowledge sharing and dissemination. In the end, with work, it always comes down to likability and who we are rather than what we can do. The patterns of followers and unfollowers hold up a mirror in that regard.
LinkedIn can work on the necessary transparency, also in terms of followers and unfollowers, to clarify matters about how we relate to each other and to the world. To find out what we can contribute in a constructive manner to evolution. To be confronted with a lot of blind spots and prejudices. Above all, to be able to keep asking the right questions and to keep thinking deeply, freely, and critically. Especially in times of fake news and controlled imaging. That is also about followers and unfollowers.
So what do you think? Should LinkedIn work on this missing functionality? Let me know.
The Dutch version of this article was published by Frankwatching.