Apperception – The process whereby perceived qualities of an object are related to past experience.
Last week, I’d written about some developments in the business networking/enterprise web2.0 space. To make the scenario even more interesting, LinkedIn announced the launch of its applications platform. 9 apps have been launched so far, and they are presentations from Slideshare, and Google Presentations, a reading list app from Amazon, online workspaces from Huddle, a travel networking app from TripIt, blog feeds from WordPress and Blog Link (from Six Apart, powered by Typepad), a file storage, collaboration app from Box.net, and one home production called Company Buzz, to track the twitter talk on your company, trends etc. Going forward, all apps will be screened by LinkedIn to ensure that they are of ‘professional’ nature, and users can add a max of 15 apps on their homepage, this is to prevent clutter. (via Tech Crunch)
While the app ideas seem cool, I was extremely disappointed with the loading time (I tried WordPress and the Blog Link apps). The WP app also does not work with self hosted blogs, so i was advised by @prateekdayal to try the Blog Links app, but its taking forever to load!! I was thinking of a few apps that LinkedIn could consider – a del.icio.us app which would help me share links with those LinkedIn friends who don’t use the bookmark sharing service, an app from upcoming.org that i could use to share events, even a flickr/youtube app to share pics and videos from conferences, events etc (while hoping that I don’t get to see birthday party pics and videos). Oh, okay , a career daily astrology forecast too No, it stops there, we really can’t have the ‘Which Office character are you’ app.
Meanwhile, the apps will have to use LinkedIn’s ad network, so that ensures control on monetising. I also read recently that LinkedIn has another revenue stream which is in trials now – B2B research surveys. The professional crowd is a great sample for market research, and can be targeted according to expertise/audience preferences too. To ensure that users aren’t pissed off, survey solicitations will be limited to one/member/month. Gift cards, opportunity to view survey results, charitable donations and even monetary rewards are being used as participation carrots.Interestingly, Facebook is also one of the networks which has been used to create a system of virtual currency payment in return for participation in online surveys.
Interesting, because LinkedIn has been profitable since 2006, Facebook still looks at ads as its main revenue stream, and Facebook, for all its popularity hopes it will have a business model in 3 years. Facebook has MySpace and some would say even orkut competing for the users’ attention, in a generic space, Twitter and Friendfeed, too, but in its space, LinkedIn enjoys a huge, loyal user base. It makes me wonder, if at some point of time – considering the economic scenario and the jitteriness of investors, Facebook will look at alternatives, and provide filters for users to create ‘separate’ profiles for separate audiences (work/friends, for starters). If that happens, and Fb can do the app magic (in the work space) that enahanced its popularity, then LinkedIn might feel the heat!!
On the flip side, I also wonder if LinkedIn should reflect a bit on fading work-life borders, and how personal and professional interests are learning to co-exist in an individual’s mind without being shoved into separate compartments. This could play a huge role in deciding LinkedIn’s role in a user’s mindspace. I personally feel that because of a very formal approach that LinkedIn seems to have adopted, it doesn’t share the relationship that Facebook enjoys with me. My time on LinkedIn is limited to adding/accepting contacts, and tweaking my profile once in a while. That’s far behind the quantity and quality of time spend and interactions on Facebook. Its not just about the apps, Orkut has them too, too little, too late and didn’t make any difference to me, its about the overall experience. I am not saying that they should add ‘Superpoke’, but when organisations are becoming more liberal in their outlook and encouraging employees to be personalities , rather than robots, LInkedIn might do well to consider a tweak in its positioning. Perhaps it’s just a design/interface thing, or its a deeper perception about what LinkedIn stands for, but the current image, to me, is neither social nor fun, and that may not be a good thing in the long run. Here’s a good post that talks about infusing some fun into LinkedIn.
I think its fair to say that just like it has in reality, in virtuality too, personal and professional lives will overlap, whether they co-exist or compete, only time will tell.
until next time, will LinkedIn be semi formal on fridays?