Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

Why LinkedIn Today is not just another News product.

Why LinkedIn Today works better than other news portals

For the same reason Facebook’s social graph completely improves upon the game playing experience – think of Scrabilicious or Zynga. They upended the gaming industry giants despite cheesy graphics – for one reason: add your friends into the mix and games are way more fun. Frankly, that’s the only reason we play. Likewise, throw in your colleagues or customers in the mix and News turns way more valuable.

Yes. News is to LinkedIn as Games is to Facebook.

I’ll be honest. I’m still a die hard Techmeme fan because I follow every minute news update in the business of technology. But, increasingly I find myself checking out LinkedIn Today, for one reason. As I skim through the articles on Today, I find myself noticing the people who’ve shared them before I check out the news itself. Not sure if this has been your experience as well.

Ice-breaker meets the Water-cooler

It really prioritizes the most important news for me based on my professional taste and who’s sharing the news. And, frankly that’s why I think LinkedIn Today is different. For starters, it automatically surfaces the most interesting news for me based on who I am professionally. There’s no setup there. Think of it as a automatic news interestingness filter based on who I am professionally.

If this works for a voracious news reader like me, then imagine today’s mainstream professional who’s got much less time to dabble in news. What would he or she want to try out. Imagine if you could see the top news articles shared by your colleagues at work, your executives, your clients, your prospective customers. Another chance to ping them, to talk about the latest news in your space.

People Filter your news

So, without rambling on… let me end this post by quoting from a recent post by Mathew Ingram (who’s been fairly prolific on this topic in recent times), on yet another critical factor that distinguishes LinkedIn Today from other news products for professionals:

If there’s one thing that web users need more than ever, it’s smart filters to help them navigate the vast tsunami of information that comes at them every day. (The big problem isn’t information overload, says Clay Shirky, but rather “filter failure”.) Someone is going to solve that problem, and if they do it properly, they could wind up capturing a significant share of the online news-reading market.

Wouldn’t you agree? The situation gets fairly worse for professionals whose time between 9 to 5 is far more valuable than the time of web users in general whose primary disposition seems to be sharing pictures of LOLCats with their friends on Facebook. Given that situation, it is absolutely imperative that we need a product where smart filters curate the uncontrollable fury of information that’s blaring at us while we work.

In LinkedIn Today’s case, those smart filters happen to be your professional interests, your colleagues, your mentors, thought leaders, etc. in your space. In addition, you can even filter each of the headlines by companies, industry and location for e.g. (see above). You can also follow news sources you dig (see below); something I did rather reluctantly and I’m hoping will translate to better results. But, frankly, people you care for professionally is why this product differs from every other news product out there. 

Enough about what I think. What do YOU think of LinkedIn Today? Let me know in the comments section below or just @mariosundar me on Twitter. Rest assured, I’ll pass it on to Liz and team, as I have in the past.

For regular readers:

I’m back. As I’d promised yesterday. This is a post that’s been brewing in my mind this whole week and I just didn’t find the time to key clicks to my laptop. I’m proud of the work of my colleagues, Liz and team and have slowly but surely moved towards using Today as I’ve noticed an increase in relevancy of news that’s surfaced to me.

Let me preface this by saying, for a long time I’ve refrained from raving about LinkedIn products I dig (because I work there), but to hell with that. When I share my enthusiasm for any tech products (people think I work for Apple :), I’d be remiss if I don’t share with you yet another product I love, just because it’s from the company I work for.

Of course, everything I post here will be within reason and will be explained thus. I’d urge you to call me out if I’m veering towards promotion but I can’t recall the last time I did that on this blog and rest assured it won’t happen. Again, these are just my personal thoughts and do not reflect my employer (as is the running caveat on all my posts here).

Filed under: Linkedin, LinkedIn Features, ,

One Response

  1. I am kinda glad you’re talking about this, I think it’s a great idea but now I have one question for you: is there a RSS feed to read your personalized news in the works? I honestly would like a lot more to access Today from an external app (or just Google Reader), but I understand LinkedIn would rather keep things within their website than letting other “poach” from it.

    Like

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