LinkedIn seeks wider use with ability to follow
The new feature, which LinkedIn announced on Tuesday, takes a page from other popular social networks such as Twitter and Facebook Inc, where users can check for updates from leaders, celebrities and others with large numbers of followers,
Until now, LinkedIn's 175 million-member social network was more closed, mainly serving people who select their own network of business contacts and others, often using it to hunt for jobs. Users of LinkedIn could only share information with their immediate circle of contacts on the service.
The new feature means that celebrities and ordinary LinkedIn users alike will be able to post messages, share photos and links to news articles that can be read by a broad group of people.
The ability to have followers will initially be available to only 150 LinkedIn users the company has pre-selected, including Virgin Group's Richard Branson, celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson and Huffington Post President Arianna Huffington. President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Mitt Romney are also among the initial group. Eventually, any user on LinkedIn will be able to have others follow them, the company said.
The change could spur people to spend more time on LinkedIn, allowing the company to generate more advertising revenue.
LinkedIn's U.S. users spent an average of 20.6 minutes on its website in August, compared with an average of 402.9 minutes for Facebook
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