LinkedIn pushes towards publishing and says everyone can be an “Influencer”

Professional networking site LinkedIn has announced it has opened up its publishing platform to all members, as well as adding a new crop of “Influencers”.

The change, which be available to 25,000 members today and rolled out to the rest of the network in coming months, means that any member of the site can publish long-form content – a practice previously only available to select LinkedIn “influencers”.

LinkedIn blogger Ryan Roslansky explains the change enables people to now publish content that people who are not their connections can follow. And likewise, they can follow the content created by people not in their network.

“When a member publishes a post on LinkedIn, their original content becomes part of their professional profile, is shared with their trusted network and has the ability to reach the largest group of professionals ever assembled,” he said.

“Now members have the ability to follow other members that are not in their network and build their own group of followers. Members can continue to share their expertise by posting photos, images, videos and their original presentations on SlideShare.”

LinkedIn describes the move as a push towards becoming a publishing platform as much as a professional networking site.

In conjunction with the push, LinkedIn has introduced a new crop of Influencers who will share their professional knowledge with articles on the site.

These include Nissan chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn, financial expert and CNBC host Suzie Orman, and Morgan Stanley chief executive officer James Gorman.

The LinkedIn Influencer program launched in 2012, and since then the average Influencer post gets more than 31,000 views, 250 likes and 80 comments, the company reports.

LinkedIn claims the change will allow all members to create long-form content and will help them “become better in their jobs by giving them a single destination to consume, create and share relevant professional content from the largest group of professionals ever assembled”.

“The ability to publish original content will begin with a small group of LinkedIn’s English-speaking member base, and will expand to all members in the coming months. Members will be notified by email when they are able to publish content on LinkedIn.”

 Director of Bendalls Group and digital media expert Fi Bendall says the move by LinkedIn is a double-edged sword.

“The positive side is that it enables people to promote thought leadership and personal branding,” she says.

“There’s a lot of smart people out there who are currently excluded from the Influencer program and these people could provide some really thought provoking content for LinkedIn.

“The negative side is that the open platform be might be subject to abuse as our feeds might be cluttered with spam and marketing materials. It will be interesting to see how LinkedIn plan on moderating these changes and if it will enhance or ruin the experience for LinkedIn users.”

LinkedIn currently has 277 million members globally, of which 50 million are based in Asia Pacific.

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