Before you look into the new LinkedIn Contacts you might think that it’s designed for LinkedIn members to bring in their friends and connections from other networks and invite them to connect.
But, while the LinkedIn Contacts have amazing functionality (seriously), this is not what they are for.
Surprised? Take a look at the screenshot below. The grayed out “in” buttons show that the LinkedIn account holder is not connected on LinkedIn with these people, whose info was imported from the Gmail account.
You’d think there should be an easy way to invite some of them to connect. But it’s not the case. On the screenshot you can see two people selected, and (as with any number of people selected from the list) the available options are:
- Tag. You can then find them by the tag.
- Message. Don’t be fooled by this option offered for people with whom you are not yet connected. If you try it out you will get an alert that you cannot message them.
- Merge (Huh? Merge two different people into one?)
You can invite these newly imported Gail contacts from here, but only one-by-one, every time confirming the message you would be sending them.
Now, the “old” LinkedIn functionality that would allow “Import, then review, then invite a selected group of people” is still there… or so it seems:
In reality, unfortunately, most of this “import-(and review)-and-invite” functionality is broken now. My guess is that it is the result of poor and hasty software coding, integrating this existing import and the new Contacts. Here are some bug reports based on my testing (does it behave in the same way in your account?):
Importing a file with contacts either crashes or just ends with no visible results. An expected result would be to see those people listed in the file in the “imported” Source among the Contacts, but they are nowhere to be found.
Importing (to invite) your Gmail contacts, if in luck, results in showing the found profiles on LinkedIn, which you can then select and click “invite”. But the invitations are not sent out; just check your “sent invites” folder and there will be no trace of them.
(Has LinkedIn not hired anyone to manage its Quality Assurance, still? It’s been around for 10+ years now.)
Anyway, I didn’t mean to say that the new LinkedIn Contacts lack in functionality. If the Contacts are not for connecting with your friends on LinkedIn, that’s no big deal! It’s not that, and it’s much bigger and greater than “just” a merged address book. In fact, the new Contacts can be used as no less than (well, almost) a CRM, all for free. We’ll explore this in the future posts.