LinkedIn Spiffs Up News Feed With Personalized News You Can Use
LinkedIn continued its rolling redesign Wednesday with trending news feeds intended to make it easier for members to cut through clutter to get the information they need.
“This is a curated, interest-based feed about the most important stories happening in your industry,” LinkedIn editor-in-chief Dan Roth told Fortune in an interview.
User interest is determined by who they follow on the network and what they post—but mostly who they are connected to, Roth noted.
The company, which has been part of Microsoft since late last year, launched search for LinkedIn posts in 2016 as well. Today’s new feature builds on that technology, according to Tomer Cohen, vice president of product at LinkedIn.
The goal here is to get users who might visit the site once a week to come back more often and stay longer—or even upgrade to a paid version of the product. The bulk of LinkedIn’s 467 million users worldwide use the free version, which is something Microsoft (MSFT) the new corporate parent would presumably wish to change.
A user can scroll down the screen to see what the most popular topics are among co-workers or other connections. If he or she is in tech, for example, that person might see a feed all about the recent Snap (SNAP) initial public offering with linked stories from major publications or blogs. Then, he or she can then find new people to follow from that feed.
Users can also easily hide posts from people they find annoying or unhelpful. The idea is to help them see the stories they need to see, and filter out the noise.
Roth, a former managing editor of Fortune.com, works with more than 20 editors on this project. But LinkedIn’s machine learning algorithms also play a big roll in determining what users might want to see. LinkedIn will also encourage industry leaders to weigh in on hot topics with their own takes—something that many of them already do on Medium.
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LinkedIn faces challenges in getting users to pay for such products as an updated Sales Navigator product for sales professionals, which debuted Tuesday. It also faces rivals like Glassdoor and Indeed.com. Not the least of these is Facebook (FBOP), the world’s largest social network that is now building a business-oriented version. Last month, Facebook even started publishing job listings, a move that led to mixed reviews.
Job postings go right to the heart of LinkedIn’s business model, which relies on paid subscriptions sold to corporate human resources departments and headhunters looking for viable job candidates.
Roth said LinkedIn’s business-first strategy remains a big advantage: “People come to LinkedIn for a particular purpose which is all about work- and business-related issues. that sets us apart. When members do veer into Facebook territory, they might share cat or dog photos, vacation news, and comments. That’s different.”