By now you probably know LinkedIn’s Question/Answer feature (Simply called Answers) is deceased, extinct, departed, an afterthought, gonzo. (See related article that offers alternatives.)
This means millions of LinkedIn members have no opportunity to ask questions—which I’ve done quite often—and answer questions, which I’ve done more than I’d like to admit.
I’m not the only one who’s disappointed with LinkedIn’s choice, Jason Alba, author of greatly regarded I’m on LinkedIn–Now What???, commented on the imminent removal of LinkedIn Answers:
“Answers was, for years, the only tool to help me accomplish my three purposes (share my brand, grow my network, nurture individual relationships).”
I caught the Answer bug back in March of 2009, three years after I joined LinkedIn. Those were hours of obsessively searching for questions to answer about professional networking, résumés, job search, career, using LinkedIn, staffing, and many more categories. Eventually I settled on Job Search as my category of choice.
To the chagrin of my family, I spent hours in my large chair typing away, always making sure I provided sincere and thoughtful answers. Come to think of it, I stopped criticizing their stupid television shows, so I guess my family didn’t mind.
Did I mention I eventually became the leader of “Best Answers” in the Job Search category? I don’t talk about it a lot, mainly because I don’t want to come across as a braggart and also because I’m not sure what value “Best Answers” hold. But, yeah, I was kicking ass in that category.
Answering questions not only gave me hours of mental stimulation; it drew the attention of jobseekers who commented that they appreciated my advice. I also connected with other career pundits who saw my answers and agreed with them. Thinking back to those times, I would agree that my network took form and began to blossom.
There were many times when I had an urgent question and knew I’d have 10 answers from the LinkedIn hawks within the hour. They were always scanning Answers. I received a ton of great answers One question I remember asking about how to reword my profile’s title garnered a stellar answer. I took the advice from the person who received “Best Answer” from me and ran with it.
Did I always get quality answers? Not always. Some answers, in fact, were useless and driven by individuals’ agendas. These answers left me thinking, “Is this person answering a different question?” What always killed me was when a person would answer a question with one sentence or even one word.
The one-sentence answers were usually from people who tried to earn”This Week’s Top Experts” (TWTE) record by giving the most answers for the week. I estimate the average TWTE shamefully answered 600 questions a week–that’s 200 shy of what penned since I began answering questions. Do these people work?
Some LinkedIn members complained about the quality of answers saying that you weren’t necessarily an expert because you earned “Best Answer” status. I could see their point. Some answers didn’t warrant a “Best Answer.”
In all, Answers was a nice feature that will be missed by me and others. One of my connections, Darrel DiZoglio, said Answers generated business for him because his answers prompted people to contact him for his résumé services. (He was the leader of the Résumé category and there was a snowball’s chance in hell of catching him. He’s also one of the best at his trade.)
You are right if you guessed I posted a question about how people would feel when Answers goes away. The question garnered 14 answers and although it was hard to award a “Best Answer,” I gave it to someone who answered sincerely and thoughtfully.