LinkedIn gets Twitterish, now lets users follow key ‘thought leaders’

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So it seems that LinkedIn really is moving swiftly on from the Twitter divorce with its own Twitterlike feature. The professional social network today announced a new feature that allows users to follow those considered to be key influencers.

According to LinkedIn’s Ryan Roslansky this seemed like a natural evolution in the network’s development as users have been able to follow news sources and companies for quite some time now.

“These updates have seamlessly become part of the discussions you’re having everyday on LinkedIn with your peers,” he wrote in a blog post. “And now, you can follow other professionals on LinkedIn… Not just any professionals, but 150 of the most influential thought leaders on LinkedIn who will be sharing unique knowledge and professional insights.”

The social network has listed 150 people that it considers to be “thought leaders”, such as Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, Caterina Fake, Craig Newmark, President Barack Obama, Governor Mitt Romney and Arianna Huffington. Users will be able to read what these influencers are saying, like and comment directly on their posts, and also share with their own network.

“In addition to having access to status updates, you’ll start to see longer form and original posts from influencers with videos, photos, and Slideshare presentations,” adds Roslansky.

The network says it will be expanding the list to feature more people in the next few months. “We’ll take a look at both universally-recognized thought leaders across LinkedIn and also industry-specific movers and shakers,” says Rolansky.

Perviously LinkedIn’s 175 million-member network has been closed, only allowing access on a request basis that required some sort of connection with the user. The network’s users could only share information with their immediate list of contacts on the social network.

According to a Reuters report, the network had revenues of US$522-million last year, and makes money from selling ads and premium subscriptions, as well as from offering specialised services to recruiters.

LinkedIn has also made it possible for users who wish to submit their names to the expanding list to be able to do so.

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