In June 2016, mighty Microsoft purchased LInkedin, and it spawned a lot of speculation about how the deep pockets and resources of the sotftware giant would affect this social media platform that’s set itself apart by becoming the preferred social media application for professionals.
Nine months later, we’re seeing the first big change: a new interface
This wasn’t just a little fluff and powder or a reorganization, it was a major overhaul for Linkedin. And guess what? It looks just like Facebook! The formerly awkward design is now much more intuitive, cleaner, faster and easier to navigate. The biggest change is on the homepage. Just like Facebook, the newsfeed cascades down the middle, just below an entry field for sharing articles, photos, and status updates.
- There are now 7 core areas on the navigation bar. Home (Your Feed), Messaging, Jobs, Notifications, Me, My Network, and Search. With one simple click on the “more” icon on the navigation bar you can also launch into other experiences that matter to you, like LinkedIn Learning.
- Richer Feed to keep you informed: Linkedin has fine-tuned your Feed to surface the most relevant content from people and publishers you care most about. We’ll see about this one.
- Powerful search capability. Click on the Search icon and a field opens up that will give you the option to search people, jobs, companies, groups and schools. Coming soon: ability to search posts.
- Who’s viewing your content: You can now see who’s reading and engaging with the content you share—by company, job title and location.
- Suggestions to make your profile stand out: You can more easily see what you need to do to look your best professionally
Stealing from Facebook: blatant and smart
With more than 1.8 billion Facebook users worldwide, Facebook’s interface is the one that people know how to use. Linkedin and Facebook user demographics may vary, but their goals are the same: to get people to connect and share information.
Thoughtful, subtle changes transcend homepage facelift
From a user-experience perspective, it’s clear that Linkedin has thoughtfully implemented these changes. I noticed a subtle difference was when I posted my weekly blog to Linkedin. It was easier to drag and drop an image into the image field, easier to add keywords and publish. I also noticed that I can click on a link on my homepage to view the stats on who’s viewing and commenting on my blogs. In the righthand column, there’s a block that shows who’s been viewing my profile.
Nine months ago there was a lot of speculation about what Microsoft’s investment meant to the social media landscape. This redesign should put to rest to rest any doubts about Microsoft’s desire to own a comprehensive, competitive social network or to suggest that it’s just emulating Facebook. It’s not. And this isn’t a productivity play. The new Linkedin is clearly Microsoft’s attempt to become a bigger player in the social media and digital marketing space.
A little bit boring becomes a little bit cool
Linkedin has always been a little big boring when compared to the newer, flashier social media applications. The new Linkedin is infinitely more accessible with great new features. It may become cool to be using Linkedin. Never underestimate the power of Microsoft.