After years of reluctance, LinkedIn has finally enabled Facebook-like reactions. Soon, users have a variety of options other than ‘like' on posts, including ‘love', ‘curious', ‘celebrate', ‘insightful', and ‘curious'.
Though the emojis reduce professionalism somewhat, it's LinkedIn's hope that it will drive more engagement. A like isn't always the most appropriate response to a post, and this should also let posters gauge the impact of their posts.
“We took a thoughtful approach to designing these reactions, centered around understanding which ones would be most valuable to the types of conversations members have on LinkedIn,” said LinkedIn product manager Cissy Chen. “This process included looking at what people are already talking about to better understand what feedback they wanted to express and receive — for example, we analyzed the top 1-2 word comments being used and what types of posts people are sharing most.”
The curious emote is a way for users to ask for more information, for example. A poster can easily see that a topic is of interest to their contacts and decide whether to provide updates in the future.
Chen says the reaction feature began its rollout yesterday, but it seems the feature isn't with everyone yet. It could take several months to reach everyone on the mobile and web due to the company's cautious approach.
However, the feature is as much about LinkedIn's image as driving engagement. Product design Ricardo Rivera says the company is shifting to a “warmer, more human look” in its visuals.
Recent examples of this include Kudos and stickers on photos and videos. The idea is to help drive more emotional connections rather than a cold professional attitude. The addition of reactions is very likely to further that goal.
Of course, the features could also provide more tools for advertisers. It could inform LinkedIn's interest targeting, for example, though nothing of the sort has been announced.