LinkedIn Adds Business Applications
LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, launched its LinkedIn Intelligent Applications (InApps) platform this week, which the company says will make business-focussed applications available to its 30 million-plus users.
LinkedIn has become more intuitive by providing a number of business tools for users, making a move away from being an online contacts directory to a more interactive business network.
The site will make applications available from several leading technology providers, including Amazon’s Reading List, to share literature recommendations, file sharing from Box, business travel applications provided by Tripit, Google Presentations and blogging tools from WordPress and Six Apart. Slideshare will also enable presentation sharing and LinkedIn will provide its Company Buzz application, which helps users track what is being said about their brand on Twitter.
Dan Nye, CEO of LinkedIn, said: “More than 30 million professionals worldwide come to LinkedIn to get business done, so we set out to offer applications that enable people to more effectively collaborate with their networks on a wide range of daily professional activities. We chose to work with leading companies whose services make sense for how our members use LinkedIn – for collaboration, information sharing and developing opportunities.”
Bucking the trend
While many firms are struggling to raise investment, LinkedIn this month received nearly $23 million (£14 million) in funding from Goldman Sachs. LinkedIn received £27 million of funding this June, when it was valued at $1 billion.
The only non-US supplier involved in the process is the UK’s Huddle, which will be providing its project, collaboration and sharing tools for working with connections. Huddle’s co-founder and Product Director, Andy McLoughlin, told NMK that adding applications was a natural evolution for business networks.
“We’ll only see more of this in the future as more networks adopt the platform approach,” he said. “The types of users on business and social networks are beginning to blur and it will be the functionality that business-oriented networks choose that set them apart from the Facebooks and Myspaces.”
Meanwhile, think tank Demos this week urged businesses to embrace social networking to help them operate more effectively in the current global economic climate. While recommending strict treatment of those who abuse access to social networks, employers should not completely outlaw networking as that could potentially limit the way staff communicate and prevent the building of relationships, the report recommends.
“Networks contribute to organisational resilience, a vital attribute in an economic downturn,” the report authors said. “Nurturing and hosting networks can bring benefits in terms of productivity, innovation and workplace democracy.”
The report concludes: “Smart businesses recognise that ‘social’ networking is not neatly separable from ‘professional’ networking. A network permissive culture requires a degree of trust on the part of managers and responsibility on the part of employees; but to the extent that networks add internal economic value, this is usually a risk worth taking.”