LinkedIn explores location updates that connect you with people nearby

LinkedIn sign Ben Scholzen Flickr
Image Credit: Ben Scholzen/Flickr

LinkedIn is exploring location alerts reminiscent of Foursquare and Sonar, according to LinkedIn designers Mauroof Ahmed and Moses Ting.

These experiments follow a series of moves from LinkedIn designed to boost engagement, including the acquisition of Newsle, the launch of redesigned Web profiles, and the debut of LinkedIn’s new Connected app, which prods you to stay in touch with your network.

Ahmed and Ting share that LinkedIn may extend the “signals” in its Connected app beyond generic professional alerts, like job anniversaries, with updates like location alerts. These alerts were described by Ahmed in a way similar to Foursquare’s check-ins:

If you were connected with me, and I knew you were in Zimbabwe [Editor’s note: I’m staying in Zimbabwe right now], I would know that and that would be kind of cool. That’s like a quick way for me to send you a message and say “hey, what’s your view right now? What do you see when you look out the window?”

And that’s something that both builds our relationship and at the same time it’s something very timely because we know where you are. And that’s something we want to optimize for, and sort of really strengthen individual relationships at a deeper level than going for breadth.

According to Ahmed, “one of the things that we’re going to be looking into is the idea of conferences,” a concept very similar to the ambitions of now dead social discovery startup Sonar.

Let’s say you’re at Google I/O or WWDC…are there people here that you want to talk to — that you want to connect with? And just by opening the app you can start conversations that way and reach out to people. Wherever that goes, that would be pretty Amazing.

The experiments above fall in line with the goal of LinkedIn’s Connected app — to help you “keep your network active and warm” — but they also greatly deviate from existing LinkedIn social updates, which largely center around job changes, birthdays, and promotions.

Although the status of these experiments was not disclosed, more personal, location-centric updates could help bring LinkedIn’s professional social network to life.

More information:

Foursquare is a location-based mobile platform that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. By “checking in” via a smartphone app or SMS, users share their location with friends while collecting points and virtu... read more »

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