Photo Credit: Maliha Mannan

How to Create An App Nobody Wants To Use.

Basically — make sure it’s full of crap content and bad users. It’s the best way to stop people from using it.

Linkedin have done something amazing. They’ve built a social media platform that people actively don’t want to use — yet feel obligated to join. A platform so widely mocked it’s become a running joke:

The gist of every joke is that nobody wants you to add them on Linkedin. They get too many connection requests, from too many people they’ve never heard of in their lives.

These requests feel intrusive. They feel like a waste of time, because whenever you get a notification, you think this could be the one person who could help me get a dream job, or find the perfect opportunity.

But it never is.

Building connections with professionals who could enhance your career is the entire point of the platform — yet nobody enjoys it.

Because Linkedin has a content problem and a user problem. They’re both based on a lack of authenticity and they feed back on each other.

The People Problem

The platform, as a social network, has never reached the level of authenticity and integrity that its peers have.

The vast majority of users are there for shameless self promotion. Banging their own drum and blowing their own horn as it were.

Sure, people use Twitter for similar purposes. But the winners on Twitter are the people who are there to share, discuss, connect and have a generally good time.

Linkedin users have reached a singularity of purpose. They want to get jobs and get paid. They’re all “seeking new opportunities”.

There’s nothing in the way of content for the sake of content, or conversation for the sake of conversation.

I’ve connected with a few people who have been pretty interesting.

But the only times I’ve had a meaningful discussion have been when the conversation has moved off Linkedin and onto the platform that is still my preferred method of communication – email.

When y0ur network doesn’t have a high quality of users engaged in high quality behaviour, it turns into a party that nobody wants to hang out at.

This is bad news for Linkedin for two reasons. The first is that good users don’t want to jump in. The second is that advertisers can’t find good users to advertise to.

The Content Problem.

The lack of authenticity discourages authentic content and users from engaging with the platform.

Most of the people who are going to create great content and do high quality writing – they’re smart enough to know that Linkedin is not the right platform, because people don’t want to read there.

They just want to get attention. They might share your article, but they sure as shit aren’t going to read it first.

They’re publishing on Medium, on media websites and on their own blogs. The people using Pulse are generally not writing articles that people want to get lost in.

And because we know that, it’s a vicious circle. It’s never really going to change.

This is bad for Linkedin because there’s nothing driving users to interact with the platform in a meaningful way.

How do you create a social network that nobody wants to use? You fail to encourage, inspire and curate good content.

What can future social startups learn from this? You have to give your users a pleasant experience by ensuring that there are people to talk with and things to talk about.

Anything less than that is going to land you with a property like Linkedin. A bad networking event full of SEO experts, sales gurus and unoriginal marketers repeating bad quotes from rich white people. With a host who’s desperately trying to get you to buy products from their sponsors.

If you enjoyed this article, please hit recommend. That would be incredible.

You can also read this. It’s an article about what you should do when you hate your boss.

Thanks for reading – I’m Jon Westenberg. I’m a creative, critic, writer and avid learner. You can read more about me on my website…

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…Or just reach out and say hi!

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