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LinkedIn Leaving You Out

With the amount of information regarding individual ties and networks having expanded exponentially in the past decade, today’s generation can quickly and easily understand their unique positions in social structures. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have used their data to make their services more applicable to their users, creating friendship and relationship connections that before may never have occurred.  While these service providers give users one view of their connections, LinkedIn’s InMaps service was a unique feature, providing their user’s with the ability to easily visualize and understand their connections on a broad scale. Initiated in January of 2011, InMaps allowed users to view their network ties in a visually pleasing fashion, going as far as to give users the ability to color code different sections of their professional lives. User’s could see how each portion of their network was connected and interact with their network by clicking on individuals to see different profiles. Oddly though, LinkedIn has decided, for the moment, to discontinue this service. Their decision means individuals who once could visualize their networks will now have to rely on only what social ties they have stored in their memory.


With a user base of 313 million it seems that LinkedIn has accomplished its goal of creating ties between individuals who would otherwise never have known each other, but by discontinuing InMaps they have created a new hole in their service, leaving users scratching their heads wondering who’s connected through which professional network. On their website LinkedIn states they’re “currently looking at new ways to help you visualize and gain insights from your professional network,” but as of now no date or understanding has been given for this new development.  A time like this gives us as users a unique opportunity to step back and try and understand what this means. By asking ourselves how dependent we are on technology, we can hopefully begin to consider the rights of a company like LinkedIn to remove important data from our access. Visuals like InMaps are also important tools for today’s world as they give insight into how people communicate and what types of connections are important when trying to find a career. Though users can still see their friends, they’ve lost a crucial piece used to understand their social networks. Despite all this, as of now all we can do is wait, and hope whatever LinkedIn is planning to unveil next will be worth it.—no-longer-supported


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September 2014