LinkedIn, the business social network, will look more and more like Facebook.
LinkedIn, which has 700 million members, redesigned its website, introducing “Stories,” ephemeral posts first popularized by Snapchat, then exploited by Facebook and its Instagram. The changes rolled out Thursday.
LinkedIn, which once was a place where people posted their resumes and looked for connections, has evolved into a more robust social network of people who use it for more than job seeking, according to the company.
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“We’re seeing people share more and comment more,” says Kiran Prasad, LinkedIn vice president of product, as users seek “a stronger sense of community on the platform.” He calls the evolution a “rebirth of LinkedIn as a social network where people want to form community and conversations.”
LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky admits on a company blog post that Stories are not new, “but we took the time to understand how Stories fit in the professional context” and found that in the COVID-19 world, the 24-hour update that doesn’t stick to your profile “lets us replace the water cooler conversations, which we all need from time to time.”
Explaining the change in focus, Roslansky says LinkedIn is a “community where you can be inspired, build relationships and discover unexpected opportunities.”
Charlene Li, an analyst with the Altimeter Group, says adding Stories makes sense. “People are not going to post baby photos there,” she says. “It’s about work and how you want to be seen and known as a professional.” Stories, she says, “are a great way to form connections, and that’s what LinkedIn is all about.”
The cosmetic changes include more wide spaces, more colors and less of the “LinkedIn” blue, except for “call to action,” areas. The community has increased sharing of posts and articles by 50% since the COVID-19 crisis started this year.
LinkedIn added an “Open to Work” tab to help the suddenly laid-off employee find new gigs. LinkedIn says people who accept this notice receive 40% more LinkedIn mails from recruiters.
Search is being added to LinkedIn pages to find “people, events, groups and content,” and tabs are being added to LinkedIn messages to let people instantly connect to video meetings on Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Verizon’s BlueJeans.
Asked about the resemblance to Facebook, Prasad says LinkedIn’s goals are the same: to be a place for the business community to communicate. “We try to get people to have conversations with each other, so they can get more opportunities.”
What makes it different from Facebook are the people on LinkedIn and the content they post. “Even if you look at it visually and you say OK, well, they look very similar to each other … I think the content and the network is actually the difference.”
LinkedIn’s services are free, but there’s a premium option, starting at $29.99 monthly, offering classes and the ability to write messages to people users aren’t connected to.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: More like Facebook: LinkedIn adds Stories and a new visual design