LinkedIn Today Is Live: A Walkthrough

It’s nice to see a big web company put out a compelling new product instead of just sitting on its laurels while it’s waiting for its IPO. Today, LinkedIn did that with LinkedIn Today, its social news product for business people. LinkedIn isn’t trying to compete with Twitter, Facebook, or Flipboard here. Instead, it wants to be the Wall Street Journal of social news.

How does it do? At first glance, not bad. The top stories I see right now are the LinkedIn Today announcement (duh), Rovio’s $42 million funding, Eric Schmidt’s Commerce Secretary candidacy, and various social media and SXSW related stories. Many of these you can find on Techmeme, but the real value is when you drill into industry-specific news.

Here’s a quick walkthrough. When you are logged in on LinkedIn click the News beta in the “More” drop-down menu at the top or go directly to LinkedIn Today. Without doing anything, you will see a customized front page based on the industries you and your connections work in. For example, I see articles about the Internet, Computer Software, Online Media, and Design. You can also add industries to follow, like Venture Capital, or specific news sources.

The articles on the Front page and each industry “section” are organized by how many times each story has been shared by your network either on LinkedIn or Twitter. You can share or save stories directly from LinkedIn Today. If LinkedIn made this into an iPad app, it could hold its own against some of the better news consumption apps out there. Flipboard for fun, LinkedIn for business.