Even before Twitter went public, it was on a quest to redesign the social network to appeal to a mainstream audience. To achieve that, it's borrowed heavily from the world's most popular social network, and it's become clear many elements from Facebook have made their way into Twitter's user interface. Its last major facelift makes use of a multi-column layout along with a splashy cover image that spans the width of the web page.
LinkedIn, too, has taken note and has increasingly embraced Facebook's aesthetic. Today the social network for professionals began rolling out modifications to users' profiles that include a new cover image and larger profile picture. The Mountain View, California, company said such changes will better reflect users' personal brands.
Along with the updates, LinkedIn announced Spotlight, a new paid membership tier for $10 a month. All premium subscribers will have the new features at launch, including a gallery of generic images provided by LinkedIn. The company plans to let all users add custom background images in the coming months. People can request early access to custom profile backgrounds at this link.
Aside from these design tweaks, LinkedIn also debuted a tool to help users fill out their profiles, suggesting keywords to optimize profiles for search. In addition, the company is pushing users to open up their profiles so they can more easily connect with members who are outside their networks.
The aim of these changes, it seems clear, is to drive user engagement. Two weeks ago, LinkedIn unveiled a tool called How You Rank, which displays the most-viewed profiles among a user's company and greater network. The tool, which feels almost like a popularity contest, shows the change in percentage points when a profile moves up or down the ranks.
[image: Flickr user Peter Burge]