Written by Mike Abb
Call me old-fashioned or just plain old, but I like to read. I know it’s a dirty word these days in the age of image driven media and attention spans knee high to a grasshopper. Reading finds its disadvantages not only in popularity, but also in the never-ending array of media outlets. Between the millions of blogs and news sites that litter the Internet plus the social networks’ constant stream of information, where can you turn to focus your attention to the news you want to read and not just what happens to be posted? Where is the funnel that siphons off the bunk from the crunk?
LinkedIn has prided itself as a professional’s social network. A useful tool to build your online resume, search/hire for employment and read the latest in company updates. I have also used it to join a number of groups dedicated to pushing our craft to new heights of success and efficiency. I also follow companies I admire and have worked for in the past. This keeps me at least partially connected to what’s happening on their end. I find that I like to know a little about a lot when it comes to my profession. This helps me speak to different scenarios on impact, which can be vital when presented with options and situations on the fly – a common occurrence in the ever-changing world of marketing.
LinkedIn realized the amount of traffic and posting they had created and decided to capitalize. They went to the lab and cooked up their latest product “Pulse.” Pulse is a separate app for mobile that allows the LinkedIn user to create a custom news feed from a variety of publishing outlets. You simply download the app to your phone, login in with your LinkedIn credentials and you are instantly presented with a listing of categories like News, Technology, Business, Science, Lifestyle, etc… Each category contains a number of publishers that can be added to the personalized Pulse news feed by tapping the plus sign next to their name. The ease of use is indicative of a well thought out and refined app, not your typical beta version littered with issues that hamper its use.
Once you have taken the time to select your news providers you can begin enjoying the simple elegance of knowledge. With just a few swipes of my fingers I was able to enjoy articles on new DSLR camera lenses from Sony and check out the latest diesel engine innovations from Popular Mechanics. All of these great outlets of information for absolutely free! I don’t need a subscription. I don’t need another annoying proprietary login to remember. I don’t need to try and fit in the article while in line at the grocery store because I’m too cheap to buy the magazine. This all is courtesy of just being a member of LinkedIn.
Not only can you read all your favorite publications, you can also easily thumbs up an article and it will post as an update status to your LinkedIn page. This is a useful way of quickly sharing what you feel your followers would be interested in reading. The app also allows you to share the article across any major social site as well as send a text message with the url. Another nice feature is it allows you to comment on the articles as well as star them for later reading. I personally love this feature. I usually skim before I make a commitment to an article and this is a good way of backtracking and making a reading playlist.
All in All
The new Pulse app is a handy tool to help filter out what you want most from the news outlets that you deem most valuable. A quick and clean GUI design makes for a pleasurable user experience and with the addition of social share options Pulse positions itself nicely as a core informational tool for the foreseeing future. It does spark one question, why LinkedIn needs to take this route? Some would say, “Focus on what you do right and own that, don’t try and differentiate yourself so much that you water down your core product”. I have watched LinkedIn grow and morph with the social landscape very successfully. This does however make me wonder what’s next up their sleeve: success or a case of bloat and bust.