ADOTAS – I’m pretty sure I let my LinkedIn account languish for a year or so. Last summer I was shocked to see my connection invitations nearing the triple digits. I hate to say I’ve never taken my account on the business social network very seriously — currently my profile picture features my Halloween costume, Erik from vampire soap “True Blood.”
The last six months have seen a whirlwind of changes on the network — most made before the company filed an IPO — including the addition of company pages, a share button for publishers and targeting for its ads, which also lost their beta status. These certainly make LinkedIn feel more like a social network and less a wasteland for recruiters and salespeople to hound professionals.
However, it’s new social news service LinkedIn Today that could be the innovation that the B2B social network really needed — to not just stand out from the crowd, but push its struggling advertising revenue. The new personalized news feed is aggregated (Shh! Don’t tell Bill Keller I used that word!) based on what a user’s connections and industry peers are reading. Users can further customize the feed by picking out industries they want to follow.
In aiming to be the “Wall Street Journal of social news,” LinkedIn today also delivers news trends outside of user’s industry and trends for the whole professional LinkedIn community. (And even trends from unprofessional members like me — do you know how awesome the new Twilight Singers album is? Greg Dulli, I wish I could have your babies…) Plus, a list offers you a look at who is sharing, tweeting and commenting on various hot stories.
LinkedIn today is also featured in the social network’s iPhone app, which includes a feature for seeing what articles have been shared by your contacts. Upon the launch, Business Insider Editor Henry Blodget quipped on Twitter, “Oh no! LinkedIn has launched a Business Insider killer!”
Giving it the ol’ college try, I have to admit the feed seems very useful — the first thing that popped up on my page was a piece about Chrysler’s Twitter snafu.
It also makes me wonder why Facebook hasn’t added something like this. If that social network really wants to be the first stop users make on the Internet, wouldn’t a customized news feed (informed by social data) be a real attraction? Plus they could monetize it with classier (and higher-priced) display and rich media ads.
Or would that make it too much like a traditional online portal?