Friday, October 1, 2010

LinkedIn Signal: New Way to Follow Trends?

LinkedIn has been going through lot of changes recently. Since they introduced status update back in 2008, they have been largely playing catchups to Twitter and Facebook on sharing status updates and comments with your network. Just this year LinkedIn have added Twitter integration, improved group pages, and redesigned the LinkedIn Inbox layout.

Now LinkedIn is trying to set the tone for how professionals to consume news in real-time social network environment. It is called LinkedIn Signal.

LinkedIn Signal: Red Marks How LinkedIn Is Adding Value
By Leveraging Company HR Info and Ranking News URLs

The idea behind LinkedIn Signal is rather straight forward. It is to provide filtering on status update by degree of separation, industry, company, time of update and region. If you are an active LinkedIn user, you would have connected Twitter account with LinkedIn and imported all LinkedIn users into Twitter. This means all of sudden there are lot more activities on LinkedIn status update because Twitter status updates are displayed as updates on LinkedIn home page. With increased volume of status update, LinkedIn is now offering a way to filter them using LinkedIn user data.

With Twitter aspiring to become Web 2.0 breaking news channel, LinkedIn is trying to carve a niche by filtering the raw Twitter news feed with LinkedIn user information. It is an interesting idea.

What is more interesting with LinkedIn Signal is summary of recurring links. Most tweets have shortened URL link to blog or news article, and they are the ones that professional users are interested in, not people announcing their arrival at a cafe down the street. LinkedIn is ranking these tweeted shortened URL's original page, and ranking them by the frequency within the searched status updates.

This means you don't have to scroll through pages after pages of re-tweeted links and different shortened URLs to figure out whether it's story people are following. You can set up your Signal filter, and log on to LinkedIn each morning to go through top-ranking news URLs on Signal to get a snapshot of hot topics.

Combining these data with orgchart info that LinkedIn already possess, you can look at what news are being followed within your organization. As discussed in yesterday post, LinkedIn's strength is at understanding up-to-date company's human resources. This is a great example of leveraging their strength.

LinkedIn has not rolled out this new feature to everyone yet. As they let users in, it will be interesting to see how it will be received by active LinkedIn users. Look for Signal link on your LinkedIn home page in next few weeks, and let us know what you think.

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