How LinkedIn Today Will Change Your Social Media Life

LinkedIn Today

LinkedIn has announced the launch of LinkedIn Today, a social news product for business users that the company hopes will turn its site into a can't-miss daily destination.

Up until now, LinkedIn didn't offer enough fresh information to be useful in daily life; well-connected Internet users don't check LinkedIn every day the way they might with, say, Facebook or Twitter. LinkedIn Today aims to change that.

The product, part of LinkedIn's attempt at delivering unique insights about users' business connections, is essentially a social newspaper that displays stories based on an algorithm that weighs what your connections are looking at, what industry professionals are interested in, and which stories have been recommended, Tweeted, or posted on Facebook.

Users can search stories by news source or by industry. By selecting "Online Media," for example, we can see that the top story is about LinkedIn Today, and that the story is trending in the Marketing & Advertising, Internet, and Online Media industries. Users can also check out their top headlines on LinkedIn's updated iPhone app, and on Twitter feeds for each industry. The whole thing is based on an algorithm--there is no editorial curation from LinkedIn.

At the moment, LinkedIn Today only has 22 industries to choose from, but the product will expand to include more of the service's 115 listed industries. One example: "The agriculture industry is not sharing enough content to build a compelling product, but we hope over time it will," explains Liz Walker, Product Manager of LinkedIn Today. Eventually, users will also have the option of searching by different cuts of data--i.e. what CEOs in the Bay Area are reading, or what Product Managers at LinkedIn are looking at.

Is this compelling enough to get users hooked on checking LinkedIn every day? "This makes the daily value proposition interesting for a wider set of users," says Walker. "If you don't have a lot of connections, it still delivers the top news in a given industry."

If this all feels a bit familiar (where's the "like" button?), the company says LinkedIn Today is much more than just a clone of social news-streaming sites like Twitter or Facebook. "What we are focused on doing is not just limiting you to an activity stream. What happens if you miss something in the stream? The whole point of products like LinkedIn Today is to keep the pulse on what your network and industries are talking about," says Deep Nishar, LinkedIn's Senior VP of Products & User Experience.

LinkedIn Today isn't a news aggregator; it's a service that attempts to combat information overload by picking out the most relevant stories. And ultimately, it's a way for LinkedIn to attract more users to its premium subscription services. "Our business is a premium business. As things evolve, we could leverage [LinkedIn Today] in order to get direct revenue," says Nishar. We imagine that this could include putting ads on LinkedIn Today pages or harnessing user information from the service to sell to marketers. But for now, at least, LinkedIn Today is free of costs and advertisers--just one more playground for the social media and news-obsessed Internet users among us.

Read More: Most Innovative Companies: LinkedIn

Follow Fast Company on Twitter. Ariel Schwartz can be reached by email.

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11 Comments

  • Jody Urquhart

    I think its a good move for LinkedIn. It didn't have a means to create compelling cutting edge content that can garner reaction from people. This is a start.

  • Dane Findley

    Peculiarly, the photo used in the article, to showcase the new LinkedIn Today, headlines "Actress Arrested in Drug Raid." Well, I can't think of anything *less* relevant or enriching to my professional (or personal) life than an article like that.

    I say this respectfully, but I don't think this latest feature is going to be the one that finally makes LinkedIn exciting. It just doesn't feel like a fresh move. I'm rooting for LinkedIn, though. I'm confident they'll find something that finally makes it *zing* !

    I'm intrigued by the new app, Hashable. It seems like a relationship-tracker and cultivator that has the potential to put LinkedIn on steroids. If Hashable ever finds a way to sync with Facebook (it already syncs with Twitter) then it may be just what LinkedIn needs.

    { twitter = @danenow }

  • M D Hamrick

    I actually like Linked In because it doesn't require so much of my time. It's very useful to me just as it is- a place to keep up with professional contacts. I hope the changes prove to be useful enough to warrant any extra clutter.

  • Steven Banks

    While I applaud the idea, it seems like a rip-off of Paper.li service. A service that aggregates your Twitter feeds and formats them in a newspaper style page.

  • Sarah Laupan

    BS that the Agriculture industry doesn't produce and share enough content. Have you ever searched #ag or #agchat on any given day on Twitter? I think it might be perhaps that there aren't enough Agriculture professionals on Linkedin sharing things yet, but that's because I don't think Linkedin adds much value for Ag professionals. Maybe that's the problem they need to address. I think there are a lot of industries out there that don't value Linkedin because it contains no added value for them.

  • Lisa Padilla

    Continued...[to end]

    ...g personalized content for end users (or business, theoretically). The people I respect are not the same as those you do. I would like to see the ability to single out a set of people/friends/colleagues/businesses/others as those who most influence me and see news from them (posted, curated or read/viewed/listened to). I need to be able to do this multiple times in a network so that I can best maintain my online persona(s).

    Just remember the goal. For the end user, not LinkedIn. LinkedIn is taking a step in distributing their content. The question is, will it be enough at this step?

  • Lisa Padilla

    Continued...

    7) Can you identify the strongest champion(s) of the community?
    8) Can you personalize the type, format, delivery style and timing of the content?
    9) How are you going to control "content couxs" (e.g. one individual or organization taking over the community with negative, too commercial or other inappropriate information).

    There is layer after layer of conversation online, some much more valuable (salable) than others. Searching links by popularity and industry isn't exactly innovative, not at a all in fact, LinkedIn has had this technology from early on. We've been doing that for a long time online.

    The problem is that we have different opinions individually. The next stage is distilling personalized content for end users (or business, theoretically). The people I respect are not the same as those you do. I would like to see the ability to single out a set of people/friends/colleagues/businesses/others as those who most influence me and see news from them (posted, curated or read/viewed/listened to). I need to be able to do this multiple times in a network so that I can best maintain my online persona(s).

    Just remember the goal. For the end user, not LinkedIn. LinkedIn is taking a step in distributing their content. The question is, will it be enough at this step?

  • Lisa Padilla

    Continued...

    1) Do they "need" the real-time news?
    2) Are they socially communicative?
    3) Do they share information they find?
    4) Are there opinionated, trusted thought leaders in the community?
    5) Do they have a person or people in their organization who is assigned to "stay in the conversation"?
    6) Is the content top notch, world class, or original?
    7) Can you identify the strongest champion(s) of the community?
    8) Can you personalize the type, format, delivery style and timing of the content?
    9) How are you going to control "content couxs" (e.g. one individual or organization taking over the community with negative, too commercial or other inappropriate information).

    There is layer after layer of conversation online, some much more valuable (salable) than others. Searching links by popularity and industry isn't exactly innovative, not at a all in fact, LinkedIn has had this technology from early on. We've been doing that for a long time online.

    The problem is that we have different opinions individually. The next stage is distilling personalized content for end users (or business, theoretically). The people I respect are not the same as those you do. I would like to see the ability to single out a set of people/friends/colleagues/businesses/others as those who most influence me and see news from them (posted, curated or read/viewed/listened to). I need to be able to do this multiple times in a network so that I can best maintain my online persona(s).

    Just remember the goal. For the end user, not LinkedIn. LinkedIn is taking a step in distributing their content. The question is, will it be enough at this step?

  • Lisa Padilla

    This doesn't seem like Facebook-like business play. Facebook, for as much as it is mentioned as a social media tool (and is for some things like pages, like contests) but is still very much B2C.

    LinkedIn is finally getting that their users want more than solicitations from headhunters (something annoying now and yet Most interesting if I'm looking for work). Bringing 'lightly' curated news by top/general industry is a start. They have to be flexible though and understand the differences in communication behavior for each vertical industry. Ask the following questions (next comment):

    1) Do they "need" the real-time news?
    2) Are they socially communicative?
    3) Do they share information they find?
    4) Are there opinionated, trusted thought leaders in the community?
    5) Do they have a person or people in their organization who is assigned to "stay in the conversation"?
    6) Is the content top notch, world class, or original?
    7) Can you identify the strongest champion(s) of the community?
    8) Can you personalize the type, format, delivery style and timing of the content?
    9) How are you going to control "content couxs" (e.g. one individual or organization taking over the community with negative, too commercial or other inappropriate information).

    There is layer after layer of conversation online, some much more valuable (salable) than others. Searching links by popularity and industry isn't exactly innovative, not at a all in fact, LinkedIn has had this technology from early on. We've been doing that for a long time online.

    The problem is that we have different opinions individually. The next stage is distilling personalized content for end users (or business, theoretically). The people I respect are not the same as those you do. I would like to see the ability to single out a set of people/friends/colleagues/businesses/others as those who most influence me and see news from them (posted, curated or read/viewed/listened to). I need to be able to do this multiple times in a network so that I can best maintain my online persona(s).

    Just remember the goal. For the end user, not LinkedIn. LinkedIn is taking a step in distributing their content. The question is, will it be enough at this step?

    1) Do they "need" the real-time news?
    2) Are they socially communicative?
    3) Do they share information they find?
    4) Are there opinionated, trusted thought leaders in the community?
    5) Do they have a person or people in their organization who is assigned to "stay in the conversation"?
    6) Is the content top notch, world class, or original?
    7) Can you identify the strongest champion(s) of the community?
    8) Can you personalize the type, format, delivery style and timing of the content?
    9) How are you going to control "content couxs" (e.g. one individual or organization taking over the community with negative, too commercial or other inappropriate information).

    There is layer after layer of conversation online, some much more valuable (salable) than others. Searching links by popularity and industry isn't exactly innovative, not at a all in fact, LinkedIn has had this technology from early on. We've been doing that for a long time online.

    The problem is that we have different opinions individually. The next stage is distilling personalized content for end users (or business, theoretically). The people I respect are not the same as those you do. I would like to see the ability to single out a set of people/friends/colleagues/businesses/others as those who most influence me and see news from them (posted, curated or read/viewed/listened to). I need to be able to do this multiple times in a network so that I can best maintain my online persona(s).

    Just remember the goal. For the end user, not LinkedIn. LinkedIn is taking a step in distributing their content. The question is, will it be enough at this step?

  • Ken Webb

    I like what LinkedIn are doing here. It's about time there was a FB style content delivery setup for business. They are on the right path.