This morning, LinkedIn launched a blog platform for “influencers”. Readers can now follow 150 annointed thought leaders and comment on their blog posts, as well has having the option to “like” and share them.
What’s interesting about this:
- LinkedIn is investing more in publishing.
- LinkedIn is acting as a curator, selecting content and people it thinks we should be paying attention to.
- LinkedIn seems to be thrashing about for ideas to improve stickiness in the wake of Twitter cutting off its stream of Tweets to the site.
- The focus of the blog posts is business rather than personal, reinforcing LinkedIn’s key proposition as professional “social” network.”
- It’s a challenge to Facebook’s fan pages as a way for high-profile people to interact with their followers.
What’s totally banal about this:
- Business “insight” posts with boilerplate headlines such as “Five Top Tips to Starting a Successful Business” (Richard Branson); “The Six Lessons I Live By” (Ari Emanuel); “The One and Only Thing You Need to Be Happy” (Tony Robbins).
- Political talking points/advertising from Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
- Tired prose written by PR people and press secretaries while masquerading as the work of the “influencer.”
- Every post feels like an advertisement.
- Chances that the “influencers” will ultimately neglect their blogs: extremely high.
It’s difficult to see a reason why this blogging platform should exist. Between Twitter, Facebook, Google+, company websites, personal blogs, Medium, Tumblr, and whatever else, it’s not as if the world was crying out for another way to get access to these people’s inspiring thoughts or comments on leadership.
Perhaps the best use of the platform so far comes from journalist Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic. His first post previews a story he has coming out later in the week about Nokia’s maps (fellow bloggers, if you want to beat him to the punch, here’s your chance). Interesting tidbits, according to Madrigal: Apple has been dishonest about its claim to 99 percent accuracy on its maps, and Nokia has “Street View” cars too. Nokia’s cars, however, come equipped with a system to create 3D images of an environment.
Madrigal tells his readers that he’s going to meet one of the cars tomorrow. But his last line points to the future pointlessness of his LinkedIn blog. ”I’ll let you know how it goes,” he writes, “and maybe post a picture or two here or at my Atlantic blog.”