LinkedIn is continuing its march from a job and professional reputation site to an all-purpose business news site, with news on Wednesday that it is now opening up its publishing platform to all members.
The move means that the site can now become more of a sounding board — and a promotional arena — beyond those selected “influencers” who have been given blog posting privileges, including former President Bill Clinton, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, publisher Arianna Huffington, author and TV commentator Suze Orman, and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Posts by any of the 277 million monthly active users will be visible on their public profiles and shared with their network. Members will also be able to follow others not in their network.
Some higher quality, higher trafficked posts by general members may be featured and shared throughout the site by LinkedIn’s editors. The creme de la creme could possibly end up in the influencers’ area, as well.
The publishing feature is starting with 25,000 members and will be rolled out to the full membership over the next few months. It will be indicated by a small pencil shown next to the Share Box, which leads to a compose screen.
If LinkedIn’s publishing captability becomes popular, with interesting and findable posts that transcend self-promotional screeds, the site could dramatically increase its members’ visits and time spent on site. Example posts: adventur.es founder/CEO Brent Beshore’s “How to Sell Anything” or Box’s head of customer retention, Monica Adractas, on “Churning Out Churn.”
The influencers section and the ability to follow specific individuals and share their posts was first launched in fall of 2012 with 150 high-profile individuals. That number has now hit about 500.
The current platform allows external links to be shared with other members or presentations to be shared via SlideShare, and the site distributes curated content from publishers. In November, LinkedIn unveiled Showcase Pages that highlight followable company content, and it replaced its LinkedIn Today news curation tool with its acquired news reader, Pulse.
Essentially, LinkedIn itself is becoming the largest news/opinion curation tool for business, as well as possibly turning into the largest generator of business content. Of course, the critical competitive edge it has over all other such filters is that it knows much, much more about your professional interests than nearly anyone. The question is whether that unique position, filtering that flood of content, will complicate or improve its members’ lives.