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LinkedIn’s Success: Authenticity And A Currency Of ‘Local Bridges’

     The tech world was shocked when Microsoft acquired the job networking site ‘LinkedIn’ in 2016 for $26 billion. Prior to being acquired by Microsoft, LinkedIn had the reputation that accompanies ‘strategic’ daily spam email and endorsement campaigns. The site felt impersonal and shallow, especially because of the difficulty the platform had in offering users a medium to have open social conversation with newly formed connections. As the concept of the ‘local bridge’ suggests, people are more likely to form relationships with strangers if the relationship offers the person some sort of original, useful information. Prior to LinkedIn’s ongoing ‘revamp’, which emphasizes moving from spam to content, the company saw only a small fraction of its current engagement.

     Is the local bridge really this powerful? LinkedIn appears to have recognized the potential of sharing ‘real’, original content. The site now sends ‘nearly 70% less email than it did two years ago’, offers more relevant and infrequent endorsement requests, and now tries to engage users with original content found on that they can find on their feeds.

     This is what separates the social platform from other social media websites like Facebook–it offers a sort of ‘realness’ that other platforms are simply unable to access. Unlike the memes, anger, ‘fake news’, and infinite fake profiles you might find on another platform, LinkedIn incentivizes users to engage by making it clear these connections will be real and useful. The uniqueness of LinkedIn is that users will form new relationships that set aside the political and instead focus on professional and business orientations. Users know that the website will provide them with an endless body of professional data, making the decision and motivation to pursue a new connection much clearer. As a result of these improvements in the authenticity of the platform, LinkedIn has seen an explosion of user engagement that connects people from all around the globe, even if the ‘novelty’ of the connection is simply a constructive conversation.

     LinkedIn has succeeded in creating a platform where the currency is not likes, but the ‘local bridge’. Users connect through sharing real ‘content, recommendations, blog posts, comments, and endorsements’ in an environment that LinkedIn has ensured will be professional and positive. As a result, a user knows that the more connections they make, the more they will have access to novel,quality information that they can use towards their own personal and career goals—far more attractive than a ‘like’.





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September 2017