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LinkedIn launches social news service targeting professionals

March 10, 2011 | 10:40 am

LinkedIn Today

LinkedIn, in the first of what is likely to be a string of high-profile social networking initial public offerings in coming months, on Thursday unveiled a social news service for its more than 90 million registered members.

The Mountain View, Calif., company has been rolling out a number of social networking features to make its website a more popular destination. The latest is LinkedIn Today, which will basically be like Twitter for your professional network, compiling the top stories from your connections or industry.

LinkedIn users will also be able to look at what professionals in different industries are reading and share stories with their network. LinkedIn will send you a weekly e-mail of the top industry headlines across all of the industries you follow. You can read the press release here.

"When we make truly life-changing decisions, we don't use search, we rely on the people we trust," said Deep Nishar, LinkedIn's senior vice president of products and user experience.

Former LinkedIn employee and CrossLoop founder Mrinal Desai says the feature has a shot at becoming "the Wall Street Journal of social news." But it remains to be seen if having yet another service curate news will catch on with LinkedIn users.

At a press conference, LinkedIn's chief executive Jeff Weiner explained that his company is rolling out products aimed at "changing the way people work." LinkedIn wants to be considered the profile of record for professionals and it wants to be the place they go to get insights into their jobs and industry, he said.

LinkedIn, which is small compared with social networking juggernaut Facebook, is under pressure to show that it can engage its users. In its prospectus, the company warned that a "substantial majority" of its members don't visit the website on a monthly basis.

Nonethless, its stock has traded in private market transactions at price levels that would imply a valuation of $3 billion.

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-- Jessica Guynn

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