LinkedIn has launched a beta product called "LinkedIn Today" -- a social news service that aggregates the top headlines and stories related to your industry and based on what your connections share.
According to Liz Reaves Walker, senior product manager at LinkedIn, the company hopes to make this platform the go-to source for users to keep current on industry news. "For people who are short on time, we think this is a great product to help you get a sense for what matters," she says. LinkedIn Today launched to 22 industries and is also now available as a feature on the LinkedIn iPhone app.
The announcement follows LinkedIn's admission in its initial public offering document that "a substantial majority of our members do not visit our website on a monthly basis, and a substantial majority of our page views are generated by a minority of our members."
"There has never been a 'sticky' part of the site to keep members coming back each and every day. Once LinkedIn Today is more prominently featured on the homepage for users, it could take them away from other [news] sites and keep them using LinkedIn more frequently."
Here's a rundown of how LinkedIn Today works, plus a look at the mobile app.
LinkedIn Today: Your "Front Page"
Visit linkedin.com/today or click the News tab from your LinkedIn homepage to access it. Note that not everyone's "LinkedIn Today" front page will look the same. The stories are aggregated based on the industries with which you are associated or have expressed interest.
[Want more LinkedIn tips, tricks and analysis? Check out CIO.com's LinkedIn Bible.]
The main story at the top is the most-shared story within the LinkedIn community. For some, you'll see when the post was first shared, in which industries it's trending and which of your first and second connections have posted it. Below the main story are the other top stories that you can browse.
In the photo thumbnail of the story, you'll see a blue button with a number -- in this case, 772 -- which denotes how many people on LinkedIn have shared the story. Clicking the number will open a page where you can drill down on and filter who shared the story, what they're saying, their company or industry and from where they are.
You can share any of the top stories with your connections and/or on Twitter by clicking the Share button at the top of the news story, or click Save to bookmark the story to read later. You can read all saved stories by selecting Saved from the navigation toolbar above.
LinkedIn Today: Your Industries
Listed in the navigation bar are the industries that, from your profile, LinkedIn has surmised matter to you. Clicking through the industries will open individual news homepages where you can browse stories related to a specific industry.
Scrolling down the industry pages you'll also find related top posts from StumbleUpon, "unusual" related stories under "Novel & Newsworthy" and related stories that your connections post, found under "From Your Connections."
How to add or edit your industries: To edit the primary industry where you belong, click on your name at the top right of your LinkedIn profile and choose Settings. Next, choose Profile > Edit your name, location & industry. Use the drop-down menu to choose the appropriate industry, and click Save Changes.
To customize the industries you see on the navigation bar in LinkedIn Today, click "Browse All" then select "Follow" or "Unfollow from the industries and sources list. Similarly, you can choose to make sources part of your LinkedIn Today. Under "Browse All" click the Sources" tab, and follow the sites that interest you. The ones you select will now be part of your LinkedIn today.
LinkedIn Today: The Mobile App
LinkedIn's move today puts a strong emphasis on mobility, led by the iPhone app component of LinkedIn Today. Visit the App Store to download the free LinkedIn app or the update.
To begin, click "LinkedIn Today" and you'll be prompted to choose industries to follow. From there, you can navigate top stories based on everyone on LinkedIn, industries you're following and your connections.
To save a story to read later or share the post among your Twitter followers and/or LinkedIn connections, click the arrow next to the story. View saved stories by clicking the icon on the bottom navigation.
Kristin Burnham covers Consumer Technology, SaaS, Social Networking and Web 2.0 for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Kristin at firstname.lastname@example.org