Linkedin: Never never repeat repeat yourself yourself

Yes, I live in a place that has spotty network. This somehow makes me an ideal user testing candidate, because if you can help me, you can help all your users.

Here is what happens to most of my social postings: I make a post. I hit the submit / post button. And wait. Nothing much happens… My post is yet not there in the public eye. Or so I gather from the page that has long stopped refreshing itself. I have tweeted a tweet twice, I have pinned a pin twice. I have even posted the same thing on Facebook twice. Once I realise my mistake I scramble to look less like an idiot and delete the repeated post! Maybe I am too paranoid about my posting as if millions are watching my every move. Well, this false sense of fame is a direct byproduct of social media!

But one such network is worried about their users reputation (understandably, since it’s their business) and that is LinkedIn!

I just posted something on Linkedin, and I wasn’t sure if I had really done that (again I have my network to thank). So I composed the entire post again (along with the appropriate link that I had to share. But something interesting happened! Take a look:

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 8.39.17 am

Don’t you love when such error messages start with “We are unable to…” as opposed to “You goofed up there, buddy!”

All it took for them to realise that I was repeating myself was the content of my post that matched exactly with a post that was made last! How hard is it technically? But to think about introducing this kind of error message is not commonplace. It goes to show that nothing is more important to Linked than stopping me from looking like an idiot and I thank them for that!

PS: As one of my observant friends pointed out, even twitter sports a similar functionality, but uses a more folksy language (Opps! You already tweeted that). Whereas G+ and Facebook couldn’t care less.

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Whatsapp: iOS 7, yet none the wiser!

Whatsapp-change

I have seen everybody who uses whatsapp hate it for one or the other reason, Yet, nobody I know can stop using it. There are groups made, conversations stored, jokes forwarded. In short, social life as we know it. Some people I know, when they lost their mobile phone, were more worried about their whatsapp conversation that went away with it!

And yet, there are problems. The first one is about how to react to a message. In a group conversation, messages flow like water under the bridge. More appropriate comparison would be Facebook posts. So if one fine morning you saw 30 unread messages and you find one joke (15th message, say) quite funny, there is no way to ‘like’ that message, or send a smiley as a reply to it specifically. Some people may find it rude that their jokes are not laughed on! So if your smiley is 31st message in response to the 15th, it may create a funny string of conversation, as you never meant your smiley as a response to the 30th message! (good luck with convincing the sender on that).

Now I know Whatsapp has a structure of ‘messages’ and not ‘posts’. But I did expect (unrealistically, perhaps) that they would make this change at least for group conversations with their iOS7 version, but no sausage!

The second and more irritating thing about Whatsapp is that you HAVE TO scroll through all the messages (especially long winded jokes) to reach the bottom and see the latest one. Like in FB, there should have been a limit on how many lines you display before someone deciders to ‘continue reading’. On a mobile device, one scroll is enough to decide if you wish to read anything or just move along and see other messages. There is a real danger that important messages may get lost in this landslide!

This unending scrolling once irritated me so much that I actually left a 40-jokes-an-hour kind of group saying that I am afraid the real important messages would be lost and members rather email me or send me a text if they wanted my attention.¬†What’s wrong with a simple truncating of messages and letting the user decide if it is worth reading? I sincerely hoped that they would make this change in their iOS7 version*. Again, no sausage!

Therefore, I remain, a reluctant user of Whatsapp even in this new year. Well, you can’t blame one to embrace the only popular way in existence that defeats the ‘charging-per-message¬†evil service provider regime’ on daily basis, can you?

* I asked a developer about this and I was told that on Android, you can do this truncating programmatically, but it’s impossible on iOS as of now.