LinkedIn, blogs and product development

Back in November, I wrote about some ideas for improving the usefulness of LinkedIn.

And the other day, after downloading the new version of their toolbar software, I'm happy to see that at least one of these ideas found their way into the product.  Now, I take no credit for this, because I this was a fairly
obvious idea that I'm sure was in the pipeline long before I brought it up.

From my post:

"LinkedIn should integrate with my calendar, contacts, and tasks, and
remind me to talk to particular people, and at the same time
provide me with their one-click contact info. "

Done.... sort of.  LinkedIn now reminds me if there are people who I contacted that I haven't contacted in 60 days.  That's good to know, but I think I'd like to change that setting for each of my contact.

Also a neat feature that I didn't blog about but I've been thinking about is a notifier that tells me who someone is when they e-mail me.  So, now, in Outlook, when a person e-mails me, I can mouse over a little box and it will bring up a really lightweight floating box with their key LinkedIn profile details.  This is great for someone who gets a lot of random mail like me.

In general, though, it makes me think about how companies engage with their users. 

All along, I've been complaining about how LinkedIn is the company I hate to love or maybe the other way around, because, with their size, its got so much potential but never seems as useful to me as it could be.  Now, if I knew these things were in the pipeline, I would have been more anxious and excited than frustrated. 

A blog would have helped there.  LinkedIn is a perfect example of a company with a active and chatty community, many of which are "power users" and a platform that has the potential to go in a lot of different directions.   This is the perfect opportunity to be blogging, but, so far, LinkedIn doesn't seem to be too blog friendly.  I mean, if nothing else, can we have a little pastable blog widget that shows, when you're signed in, how you might be connected to me via LinkedIn, and a click to connect?

Engaging their community in a public conversation would not only go a lot way for helping their product development, but I think it would also promote a lot of positive thinking about the direction of the product.

So, this way, instead of complaining on our own blogs, we could complain in the comment section of theirs, feed off the comments of other users, etc...