The Odd Little World That Is (the new) LinkedIn Notifications

Notifications have become a bigger deal under the new LinkedIn Desktop User Interface. It’s now one of the “big six” tabs across the top of your screen, along with Home, My Network, Jobs, Messaging and Me.  

While I have read that some people don’t like the new format, I do like the  dedicated stream that opens up when you click Notifications. I always used to hate the little narrow slider on the old notifications pop up window. That was user nasty.   

For the purpose of this article, consider the terms “post” and “article” to be interchangeable, as LinkedIn appears to treat notifications similarly for both (a post is a short piece of content that goes right into the homepage feed, while an article is long form content that stays attached to your profile).

Here is what I have seen that is changed or different in Notifications. Like many aspects of the new User Interface, there appear to be bugs and omissions in Notifications, so I should qualify this article by saying that this is what I see on my screen as of writing this post March 20th.   

What you get notified for

* Likes or Comments on your posts or articles.

You get notified when someone likes your post or comments on your post. I will talk more about Likes when I write about Publishing, Views and Statistics but likes are wonky in the new format. They are hard to track and give you less info (just the name, headline, and photo) than they used to.  

* Jobs you may be interested in

I seem to get this several times a week.

* Wish connections a Happy Birthday

Arrives daily. A list of everyone who has a birthday that day.

* Congratulate connections on work anniversaries

Arrives daily. A list of some of the people who have a work anniversary this month. LinkedIn parses these out piecemeal over the course of the month, as for most us, dumping all fifty or five hundred people who have an anniversary this month in one notification would be overwhelming.

* Congratulate a connection or connections on starting a new position

Daily. A list of those people starting a new job.  

* Mentions

This is the biggy. Mentions now rule the roost. Mentioning someone in a post, or in a comment on a post, or someone liking a post or a comment that mentions you, generates a notification, and these notifications seem to supersede all others. I usually hide these posts from other people after I have weighed in, as the mention related notifications will push out all my other notifications – like comments on my own posts – and completely dominate my notifications feed.

Conjecture: get ready to get mentioned to death as the social sellers discover and start gaming this feature.

* New endorsements from your connections

A low level priority it seems. I see these occasionally.

* Someone you follow has published an article

Rare. At least for me. I have had the new UI since early February and I can remember seeing one notification for a connection who has published an article. And I have a lot of connections who post every week.

* Further engagement with a post you engaged with

Someone commented on a post you commented on.

* Followers

Once a day I receive a list of any new followers I have. What’s alarming about this is that this is the only place in the new UI where there is any reference to my  followers at all. I have approximately seven hundred followers. I know who the four are that followed me yesterday and the two from the day before. The rest of my followers? No way of knowing. I think your phantom followers have taken the place of the anonymous LinkedIn profile viewers, as in: “There are several hundred people who are interested in you Mr Johnston, and have signed up to follow you, but we are not going to tell you who they are.”

What you do not get notified for

* Shares

No notifications of people sharing your post – unless the sharer mentions you. I think people who share my posts are the single most important engagement opportunity on LinkedIn. Either this is a mistake LinkedIn will rectify, or LinkedIn doesn’t think sharing is important anymore, in which case they need to change the Social Selling Index, as sharing is a critical part of the SSI.

Summary: the new somewhat improved notifications

LinkedIn has consolidated some types of notifications into once a day types. This is good.   

LinkedIn will also consolidate your likes and comments for a particular post into one notification (Bob Smith and twelve others liked or commented on your post). This is good.

There appears to be a hierarchy of notifications. Mentions are on top, along with likes and comments on your posts. Notifications for new posts by people you follow are on the bottom and get lost. This is bad, as most people would like to define their own hierarchy thanks.

There appears to be a maximum number of notifications of 9.

This is smart. No one wants to open up LinkedIn and see three hundred notifications waiting, in the same way that no one goes, “Oh goody, I have three hundred emails!”

You receive a lot more notifications when you are logged on to LinkedIn.

LinkedIn seems to detect when you are on LinkedIn. When I first logged in yesterday morning there were nine notifications waiting for me. Over the next three hours (a Sunday morning mind you) I received a dozen more.  This is good (more timely notifications) and bad (potentially interrupts my workflow).  

The most powerful tool on LinkedIn is the Mention.

For now anyway. Mentions appear to be the guaranteed way to get a notification to someone. Expect to see your name in bold on a lot of posts.


Suggestion: Hide posts that are dominating your feed. I have found that commenting on a post that then gets a lot more comments can really clog up my feed. I have started going back to the post and clicking on “Hide this post” (it’s under the three dots at the top right of the post). This frees up a lot of room in the feed for notifications I want to see.

Like quite a few aspects of the new UI, notifications has been cleaned up and made to look more presentable, which is good for the occasional user. For us power users, the same complaints remain: I would like to have more control over what I see in my feed.