LinkedIn Mobile: False Start, 5-Yard Penalty, Repeat the Down

February 25, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals, released a mobile version over the weekend. You can access it by visiting from your mobile browser. The reason this is news for Apple users is that there is a special version of LinkedIn for the iPhone.

I briefly tested the mobile version of LinkedIn and it seems like a good first step, but it is missing a few features. Overall, the experience is a pleasant one. There are three tabs: Updates, Contacts, and Profile. Above the tabs are links for Search and Invite. Navigation was straightforward and pages loaded quickly (a nice contrast with the regular site which has become quite slow).

The first limitation I noticed is that you can’t update your profile. In fact, you can’t really do much of anything besides invite people. This makes sense to a certain degree given the medium – mobile phones with very slow data entry. It doesn’t really work, though, for a social networking site and turns the LinkedIn mobile website into a glorified address book.

Unfortunately, the LinkedIn mobile website doesn’t fill that role very well because the mobile profiles are missing a lot of the information you will find on the regular site. A few egregious examples – vcards, email addresses, and website links are nowhere to be found. For some strange reason, you also can’t view your contacts’ connections.

They will probably eventually get it right, but it’s really a wonder that they released it in this state. Calling it a Beta website is quite the misnomer. Beta software is supposed to be feature-complete (or nearly so). The LinkedIn mobile website feels more like a technology demonstration than something “ready to go except for the testing.” Thankfully, there is a feedback button at the bottom of each page. If you’re adept at the iPhone keyboard, I suggest sending LinkedIn a note or two to remind them what social networking is all about.

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