by Dan Cash
LinkedIn have launched ‘LinkedIn Today’, their news organ which they hope will become as important a daily destination as Facebook or Twitter. They’ve noticed that although they have many many members few visit every day. If you have a LinkedIn account you probably use it much like I do, check the updates on my everyday email and if there’s something I’m particularly interested in I’ll head on over. Take a look at LinkedIn Today and you’ll find a professional looking business news resource that, it is hoped, will keep you coming back.
Unlike any ordinary news aggregator LinkedIn knows you and your friends, business contacts and colleagues so the news is specific to your industry interests, things your contacts are interested in and popular news stories across the entire network.
You can follow your favourite sources, search by topic and follow particular industries, these tweaks will have a knock on and the news that’s delivered will begin, quite rapidly to target itself toward your specific industry.
Being linked in LinkedIn also algorithmically samples the stories that are trending on Google news, Twitter and receiving Facebook likes. You can search by source or industry, Funny enough LinkedIn Today is the top story for social media on LinkedIn Today and you can see where the story is trending, ie social media, marketing and advertising, online news/ media, recruitment and business.
Of course there’s an app for that, you can get the news sent to your Twitter account. Because the news is selected by popularity, not an editor there’s a toggle on the lower right of the news’ illustrative picture showing how many people have read and reposted the item, click on it and you’ll see a list of them if they share their profile publically on LinkedIn.
You also have a share and save option if you think a story will be of interest to others or you don’t have time to read it immediately.
There are only about twenty industries present in the suggested industries, LinkedIn has over a hundred in the choices of industries so we should hope to see more of them represented as the resource matures and develops. Clicking on top sources gives an alphabetical list of all the major news sources that you can identify and focus in upon. The scarcity of industry sources makes sense though, as Liz Walker, Product Manager of LinkedIn Today points out: “The agricultural industry is not generating enough content to create a compelling product, but we hope, over time, that it will.”
This all adds to the stickiness of LinkedIn but is it the goose that lays the golden eggs as far as frequent and multiple daily visits goes? If you’re hungry for news you’ll already have your RSSs targeted on the data sources that concern your industry and general sphere of consumption; LinkedIn today may be your one-stop-shop but if you’re already channelling your favourites then a few items from sources you were so far unaware of may get thrown up from time to time but what will the consistency be like?
Ms Walker is eager: “This makes the value proposition interesting for a wider group of users. If you don’t have many connections, it still delivers the top news in a given industry.”
If you miss the like or the tweet buttons then, according to Deep Nishar, VP Products & User Experience, you’re missing the point: “What we are focused on doing [with LinkedIn Today ] is not just limiting you to one activity stream. What happens if you miss seeing something in your stream? The whole point with products like LinkedIn Today is to keep your finger on the pulse of what your network and industries are talking about.”
LinkedIn Today isn’t a news aggregation service, it’s designed to prevent overload by only sending you information that’s relevant to your particular interests. At the moment it’s refreshinhgly clear of advertising and marketing. That should change too though, as Nishar points out, LinkedIn is a business and the product will ultimately be used to generate income. This will include putting up advertising and harnessing user information from the service to sell to marketers. So enjoy LinkedIn Today today before it becomes just another advertising stream.