I don’t usually get all up in arms when a social media site I like changes its features.

Stuff happens. Things change. Improvise, adapt, overcome.

But when I heard the news about LinkedIn killing its Answers section today through my friend, Todd Van Hoosear, and then this article on AGBeat, I was upset. This, I feel, is a big misstep.

Maybe not everyone who uses LinkedIn uses the section. The people who do use it, however, find great value, and there are many.

When I answered a question there after I was laid off from my newspaper job a few years ago, that led to one of my first consulting gigs, which in turn led me to the path I walk now. So, sure, part of it is likely sentimental. I can be like that sometimes.

It’s more than sentiment, though. Answers was the best spot on the site to really show your stuff. Your profile can be stuffed with whatever. Groups may or may  not be open to everyone, and so many are filled with so much spam that they’re nearly unnavigable.

Answers, though, was simple. Someone asked a question. People answered. Answers could be rated by the asker, and if someone repeatedly was graded as a “best answer,” it gave their replies in that section more weight. It allowed you to show what you really knew and find out what people really wanted to learn about.

On many of our platforms, we live in an echo chamber, surrounded by others who have similar skillsets. On LinkedIn, our personal network may be like that, as well as our groups, but in Answers, you could find anyone who knew something about anything. Sure, we have Quora now, and some of the questions and answers there are fascinating. But when you want to do business, LinkedIn is where you go. And where you ask your business-related questions.

Sadly, as of Jan. 31, that will be no more.

Photo by Alexander Henning Drachmann via Flickr Creative Commons.

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