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Maybe you’ve missed the news from LinkedIn? It would be easy to miss, as LinkedIn itself does not seem to have published anything online about their newest change: they are axing the Answers section as of the end of this month. They sent an email about this change to members earlier today, but not everyone received one, at least not yet. (I know because I didn’t get mine!)

It’s not such a big surprise, really. LinkedIn has been “hiding” this resource behind the “More” tab on its toolbar for a long time!

Personally, I always liked Answers. In fact, my very first on-line client when I launched my business came to me because of LinkedIn Answers. He liked my answer to his question about resumes, and hired me to write his resume. I hired people for technical support early in my online business after I met them via Answers. I’ve been recommending small business owners and job seekers take advantage of Answers to help expand their networks and grow their influence.

Luckily, there are many, many more ways to demonstrate your expertise and expand your network beyond LinkedIn and Answers. Have you tried Quora? This network focused totally on providing a forum for questions and answers is still alive and kicking.

LinkedIn’s email suggests several options in LinkedIn to “replace” answers:

  • Connect with like-minded professionals in Groups
  • Ask other LinkedIn members questions and receive immediate feedback via Polls
  • Follow influencers for access to insightful professional content
  • Facilitate conversations with your connections via status updates

I am a big fan of LinkedIn. I’ve written in all of my books that having a LinkedIn profile and using it well is key for job seekers. I believe it is also very important for small business owners — or people who want to be small business owners. However, this action proves a more important point. This is not really about figuring out where else you can go to answer or ask questions. (Although, I do feel for the people who answer 500 questions a week…they are going to experience a serious gap in their days!)

This action really points out one important point: we do not have any control of anything that happens on the social networks we use. This is true of all of the networks — all can change on a dime. Look at Facebook — constantly changing issues that have to do with privacy and altering algorithms that influence who sees your updates.

Wait – don’t start deleting your social networking profiles. They can and will help you. In fact, I believe using social media – and using it well – is absolutely key to succeeding with your business and career goals.

Do not, however, put all of your proverbial eggs in social networking baskets that you don’t control. Engage on more than one network and – most importantly – create your OWN website (and blog, if you can write) to engage a community and highlight what you have to offer.

If you actively used Answers, you’ll probably look for other ways to replicate the experience. I saw one LinkedIn user commenting that he would create a Q&A Group with categories. But, remember the bigger lesson: own and control your profile and do not allow your online profile to fully be at the whim of someone who doesn’t care about you personally.

photo by aur2899

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  • I think this is further proof that you shouldn’t put all your content on a social network and instead are much better off putting your content in a domain you control. Some systems let you export content, but all my LinkedIn Answers are just going to the great bit bin in the sky…

    • That’s exactly my point. It’s sad to see Answers go, but, as I noted, not too surprising, since it’s clearly not a key part of LinkedIn’s strategy. Thanks for your comment!