Early last year, LinkedIn opened up its publishing platform to all members, initially arriving for a selection of English-language speakers on the network. Previously, access to the blogging platform had been limited to a small, editorially selected group of “Influencers” like Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Barack Obama. Today, the company says that it has reached one million posts, and now, it’s expanding access to all members in English-speaking countries. The expansion means that 230 million English speakers are able to publish on LinkedIn going forward.
This expansion has been in the works for some time. It’s been nearly a year since LinkedIn made the move to open up the ability to publish beyond its carefully selected “influencers.” And initially, the platform was only open to some 25,000 English-speaking users while access slowly rolled out to the rest of the U.S.
In the time since, LinkedIn members have been publishing over 40,000 posts per week, on average, the company reports, sharing their expertise, advise, stories and ideas with others in their field and fellow peers. With the expansion announced today, you might begin to notice a wider selection of content in your LinkedIn feed, which will now include popular posts from international users – even if you’re not directly connected with any members overseas.
The company says it’s now working to expand access to all of its over 330 million professional members, who “in the coming months” will be able to post in all the languages that LinkedIn supports. The slow expansion could be in part deliberate, as the company claims, saying that it wants to learn more about how its members are using the platform, but it’s also indicative of a company that struggles a bit with technological changes. (Take a look at what happened to Rapportive following its acquisition, for example.)
For LinkedIn, the goal with the publishing platform is not just about serving its members by offering them a way to build up their own profiles and visibility, it’s about driving more traffic to LinkedIn. The network today is challenged by being a place that users think of as more of a utility – something they look to when it’s time to update their resumé, or something they access when they need to research a person’s bio, for example. LinkedIn would prefer users have a reason to making checking LinkedIn more of a part of their daily habits – something that encouraged the network to buy the Pulse news reader in spring 2013, for instance.
At the time, the company explained its decision saying that it wants the site to be “the definitive professional publishing platform – where all professionals come to consume content and where publishers come to share their content.”
LinkedIn is getting there, slowly. But in the meantime, by dragging its feet, it has made room for publishing competitors, like Medium, to step in and serve the needs of a crowd that’s looking for an easy way to speak to their audience, including in some cases, professional colleagues, peers, and customers.