While LinkedIn is a social network, it has always felt more static than other networks, such as Facebook. This is generally acceptable as the service is more about linking with professionals than being on the go constantly. However, in terms of messaging, LinkedIn had some limitations. The company announced today that connecting for messages should now be easier.
The new Conversation Starters feature has now been introduced to the LinkedIn Messaging system. When a user starts a new conversation a light bulb icon lets them swipe through a list of personalized topics.
These starter topics allow easy conversation breakers that can be selected. This is important, because unlike other networks, users on LinkedIn may be connecting with professionals they do not necessarily know.
Available Conversation Starters include:
- Updates on your connections' professional activity. Congratulate your connection if they've started a new job or celebrated a work anniversary recently. You can also share your thoughts on an article they've recently published on LinkedIn.
- Shared experiences. Connect on something you have in common, such as having worked at the same company, joined the same groups, or gone to the same school.
- Shared connections. Build rapport by mentioning someone who you both know.
Of course, we are now in the post-Microsoft era of the network. The company embarked on a $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn in the summer. Under Microsoft's stewardship, we can expect to see LinkedIn change drastically over the coming years.
For example, Microsoft will undoubtedly integrate service like Office and Cortana into the social network. This will give professionals more tools within the LinkedIn platform. While companies like Salesforce has raised concern about Microsoft withholding data of the 400 million users, the company denies this will be the case.
Either way, Microsoft potentially has 400 million new customers to engage with its services. The company says LinkedIn will remain independent, but it will certainly become a platform for hosting Microsoft's other services.