Archive for February, 2013

LinkedIn is stupid, part 265

In our last chapter our hero discovered the unknown country of tags wherein he thought “Aha!  I don’t need to click every single freaking connection to send a message to the same group.  I can just create a tag and use that in the future.”

In today’s episode he learns how naive he truly was …

It was a sunny Texas winter day, the kiss of warmth on my forearms a promise of the luxurious heat to come in a few months.  I was excited to try out my sexy new LinkedIn tags.  I’d click a tag of 50 connections, click Send message, write and send my note, repeat a few times, and be done in a few minutes.

That LinkedIn was quite the complicated lady.  You’re sailing the seas of business.  A friend charts you a new path to her moist island.  From afar she’s a goddess, easy on the eyes, mysteriously alluring.  You couldn’t keep away.  But as you sailed closer and got friendly, you knew something was up.  That sexy black dress was festooned with razor wire and spikes.  You could feel it in your bones.  She was a dangerous siren, not a plucky mermaid.   Get too personal and she slapped you back time and again with restrictions and limits.  Too many invitations.  Too many connections.  Too many messages.  You can’t download your own connections.  She was in control, not you.  You had to play by her rules.  Treat the dame right though and you can sail on by to the land of new opportunities.   Yeah, I learned the hard way.  Crashed a few times on her rocky shoals.  But I had her mapped out.  I knew her game.

And so I started with a smile.  The only happy moment of my miserable experience to come.

View connections.  Find tag.  Click Send message. See, it’s easy.

But LinkedIn says there are too many recipients.  It will take only the first 50.

But there WERE 50.  Because that’s how I created the tag. Click. Click. Click. Until Linked says 50 are selected.  Click to make tag.  Find tag. Click tag.  Click Send message.  And it worked fine.  LinkedIn wouldn’t have sent that original message when I created the tag if there were more than 50.

Not today.  So I sent the first 50, or whatever number LinkedIn thought it was.  Back to connections.  Find tag. Now it says there are 60 connections (give or take a few).  Hmm.  Click tag.  Examine tag contacts.  Several contacts were duplicated.  So the original tag of 50 unique connections had suddenly expanded to 60 connections with phantom LinkedIn-created dupes. WTF?

The irony is that when I first created the tag several days ago I clicked the same 60 or so contacts with some phantom dupes. LinkedIn ignored the dupes.  It displayed the 50 real selected contacts.  When I saved the tag there 50 contacts in the tag.  When I used the tag to send the message, it put the 50 real contacts in the recipient field.

But now LinkedIn magically added dupes back in in the tag count and connection display.  Even worse, LinkedIn went amnesiac on me.  It suddenly lost the ability to ignore the dupes in the tag member count and when Send message was clicked.   Tags and messaging have been out for years. Did ANYONE do real testing on it?

I thought I had it figured out.  But now I was back in a fairy land where unicorns kissed, pigs flew, and the acrid odor in the air was your skin being eaten alive by the acid of LinkedIn’s twisted logic.

Deep breath.  Press on, soldier.

I had sent the first “50” connections, which really were only 40 or so.  I had to determine which connections were missing.

Back to connections.  Find tag. Click tag. Click Send Message. See the message again with warning that only the first “50” were used.  Find the last name in the recipient field, right?  … Of course not.  The names are not ordered alphabetically.  It’s impossible to eyeball the last alpha name when you’re looking at 40 of them.

I refuse to quit.  Lesser mortals would have poured a tall scotch,  smoked a joint, or made love with a partner or handy pet.  Me?  LinkedIn will have to pry my frozen fingers off the keyboard. I copy all the names on the message web form.  Paste them into a spreadsheet.  Convert to columns.  Delete cells where people have middle names or use funky characters.  Finally get last names in a column.  Sort.  Now I know the last name.

Back to connections. Click on the tag.  Does LinkedIn display 50 names at a time like the regular connections pane display? … Of course not.  LinkedIn intentionally makes it hard.  Only 10 at a time are displayed.  Scroll down.  Click Next for the next page.  Scroll down.  Click Next. Scroll down.  Click Next.  Scroll down.  Click Next.

Find the last name that was sent.  Click the selection checkbox on the next name on the list.  Click the rest of the names in the window. Page down. Click more names.  Click Next. Click more names, page down, repeat to the end of the tag connection list.  Click Edit tags.  Write and save a new tag name.  So I now have a 2nd tag with a subset of connections from the first tag.  Thanks, LinkedIn.

Back to connections.  Find new tag.  Click tag.  Click Select All.  Send message. Message displays but NO addresses.  Doesn’t work.  B. U. G.

Back to connections.  Find new tag.  Click tag.  Don’t click Select All.  Just click Send message.  That works.   Create and send message.   Finally the LinkedIn fog lifts.

Now we have a process, no matter how contorted, that works.  Don’t think.  Just do.  Repeat for all tags for original mailing.

I’d accept these technical problems and dreadful customer experience from a bootstrap startup beta.  LinkedIn though is a multibillion dollar valuation mature company.


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