The Mysterious Disappearance of the LinkedIn Activity Feed
The LinkedIn activity feed is back.
Last December, LinkedIn quietly removed the activity feed from each user’s profile. The activity feed sat just below the “business card” section of the member profile, and showed the member’s activity: profile updates, status updates, likes, and comments. It gave LinkedIn more of a Facebook feel, because it emphasized recent activity over the resume part of the profile.
Then one day it was gone.
LinkedIn aficionados were furious at the change because the activity feed made it easy to see who was doing what on LinkedIn. Other users were glad to see the activity feed gone because it pushed the resume below the “fold”.
LinkedIn never explained why they got rid of the activity feed, but later events tell the story: They were clearing space for their recently unveiled publishing platform.
The Activity Feed is back, but where?
As of this week, the activity feed is back. But you might have to work to find it.
LinkedIn did not return the activity feed to its old prominence below the profile photo. It’s now a hover and a click away. To see it, mouse over the tiny black arrow to the right of the two buttons beside the headshot on a member’s profile. A drop-down menu will automagically appear, and you can select “View recent activity”.
Hidden? Well, yes. LinkedIn’s design suggests that the activity feed is a feature for power users, while the rest of us are mostly interested in resumes and blog posts.
Why should you care?
If you just use LinkedIn as a rolodex, the activity feed’s return probably doesn’t mean much to you.
But LinkedIn is much more than a Rolodex, and activity is the key.
Over the past few years, LinkedIn has reinvented itself as Facebook for professionals: a vibrant community of professionals sharing, blogging, and commenting about their work.
The activity feed allows you to see, in one place, all the most recent content an individual has posted: Their profile changes, status updates, posts, comments, and likes.
That enables some powerful research. Suppose you’re calling on a prospective customer or client. You now have the ability to “listen” to what your prospect has been doing. You’ll walk into the meeting know what articles interest the prospect, what’s new in their world, and what discussions/topics get them excited.
From a marketing perspective it works the same way, only backwards.
As a marketer I publish updates often–so often that they drop off the screen within a few days (or even a few hours). Contacts used to ask me frequently to re-post past links which they remembered seeing but couldn’t find again.
With the return of the activity feed, my content lives on in a kind of “recently archived” status. My audience can once again find the things they missed. That gives my content more endurance, and lets me post as frequently as I want without worrying about recent posts disappearing.
At least until LinkedIn’s next redesign.