Pulse Beta: when the original app becomes unrecognizable

I use Pulse as a reader for a bunch of blogs that I follow. When I opened Pulse on my phone today, I was thrown into a downward spiral of confusion:

  1. The articles I see are NOT from sites I subscribed to.
  2. I could not find the articles and sites I subscribed to, even when I have an account and even after I logged in.
  3. Who are these people on my feed? Who are these LinkedIn Influencers!? I don’t know who they are, and I don’t care who they are. Why are their articles on my feed, and WHERE DID MY ORIGINAL FEED GO?

I re-installed the app on a new phone, so I backtracked to the Play Store to check if I downloaded the right Pulse. It seemed like I did, but it was not the app that I used to have. I tried to find where the blogs I used to follow were, and lo and behold, without asking, LinkedIn was using the Beta version on me. 

Eventually, I saw their “revert” message after scrolling through some articles. I could finally go back to the Pulse I knew. The Beta version I saw and scrolled through felt like an app tailored only to shove LinkedIn user articles to my face because my old feed with articles and sites I cared about just magically disappeared. It was an unpleasant experience.

Despite the fact that they should have the list of sites I follow on their database, none of that carried over to this new beta that they were showing me. I would have to re-subscribe to sites I used to follow and I tried for a bit, but it was too time-consuming for me (I’ve done it before, why do I have to do it again? I can’t even remember every single site I subscribed to). So I went ahead and changed my settings to revert to the old Pulse just to get my old feed back.

I didn’t even want to try this new layout they seem to be testing (a list of article cards instead of a grid like in the current version) because I was so put off by the sudden transition. I think LinkedIn should’ve learned from Google and how they implement UI changes on their (web) apps: asking users if they’d like to switch first, instead of forcing the change. If that Beta preview is where LinkedIn’s Pulse is going, I may have to find a new reader soon.


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