On January 31st, LinkedIn will retire its Q & A portal, Answers. This change comes at a time when LinkedIn is revamping the profile design and follows the demise of other LinkedIn features like Events and Applications.
This is one I definitely saw coming. Back in December, over on my other blog, Content, I considered whether LinkedIn’s acquisition of Quora might mean the end of Answers. As I mentioned in that post, I asked that question of LinkedIn, and here’s what they said:
Well, after getting the new profile, I noticed that the Answers module hadn’t carried over. Perplexed, I asked LinkedIn to explain whether Answers would in fact be integrated in the new profile design or if it was going away. I asked specifically about this module that used to appear on profiles that tracked your activity on Answers and recognized you for “best” or good answers:
LinkedIn answers are integrated with new profile design and also there are lot of features and applications are removed. However, please know that we are continually developing product features to enhance your LinkedIn experience. Periodically, enhancements are tested on a limited scale before doing a full scale release to the entire membership.
That made the waters even muddier, so I persisted in seeking a clear answer about Answers. I asked: “Can you explain how they’re integrated on the new profile?…I just don’t see the module that used to appear on the profile.” Well, just this morning I got a very clear answer. An email from LinkedIn’s customer support said:
As of January 31, 2013, the LinkedIn Answers feature will be retired from LinkedIn. We’ll be focusing our efforts on the development of new and more engaging ways to share and discuss professional topics across LinkedIn.
Now, do I think LinkedIn was being evasive? Not at all. I believe there are a lot of changes happening at LinkedIn and the reps who I was talking to probably either couldn’t give a clear answer or didn’t have enough information to do so. In addition, as I said when LinkedIn retired Events, I applaud them for having the discipline to cut features and not just continue to add them.
If this change isn’t welcome news, there are other ways to ask questions of your network: in a status update, in Groups, and via Polls. And there’s a lesson this for all of us: don’t be too dependent upon any one feature, plugin, or widget. We can’t control whether or not they remain part of our profiles. All we can do is use a few tools well and make changes as LinkedIn evolves.
Have any questions about Answers–or anything else? Drop a note in the comments.