From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:
As Forbes observed in a cover story earlier this year, LinkedIn has become something of the anti-Facebook–except that following an uninspiring Facebook IPO, that term is now meant as a compliment instead of a dismissal. Only nominally a social network in the conventional sense of the term, LinkedIn has grown from a company that seemed hopelessly mired in a business niche into a profitable powerhouse that is now indispensable to both recruiters and the rest of us who want to get recruited for a better job.
Today starting a little after 10 a.m. Pacific, it’s holding an event at its Mountain View headquarters offering the press a chance to “meet the new LinkedIn.” Long seen as a fairly static site, LinkedIn earlier this year promised it would be gearing up product innovation. That’s what we’re likely to hear about today. On the agenda are CEO Jeff Weiner; Deep Nishar, senior VP of products and user experience; product manager Aaron Bronzan; Ryan Roslansky, head of content products; product manager Caroline Gaffney; and Joff Redfern, head of mobile products.
I’ll be blogging the highlights here, so keep refreshing for the latest. You can also watch the livestream.
And we’re underway. … OK, now to the news! Mainly, it’s a new LinkedIn Profile. Bronzan says it’s streamlining profile editing, with new tools to connect with your professional network. Top of the page is simpler, with a more prominent photo. Also at the top: a more, yes, Facebook-like (and Twitter-like) section to update your activities instantly. It’s also easier to add new products, skills, etc. on the profile.
There are also more visual indications of your connections. You can zero in on companies, groups, and locations that you have in common with another person with a quick look at his or her profile. Essentially, it’s easier to find common ground more quickly.
To sum up: simplified editing, easier ways to build relationships, and richer insights. This will roll out to all users starting today. You can sign up for an early look here.
Tom White of Macquarie Securities issued a note to investors affirming his “outperform” rating based on the potential for the new profile to spur more user engagement and thus LinkedIn’s value to its core recruiter customers:
We found LNKD’s newly streamlined profile editing tools as perhaps the most interesting take-away from today’s announcement. These new tools aim to make it easier for members to add content and otherwise enrich their overall profile by streamlining how members add data such as skills, certifications, language proficiencies, industry specialties etc. to their profile. By contributing more content to their profile and otherwise ensuring that it is fresh/accurate, a member can improve his/her chance of being “found” on LinkedIn for a potentially interesting professional opportunity. We don’t believe that the average LinkedIn user fully appreciates this dynamic of the platform, and, if LNKD can encourage its members to spend more time updating their profiles, it could drive incremental user engagement on the site (as well as provide more value for LNKD’s recruiter customers). …