Sometimes a “like” in social media doesn’t give the full picture, or you’re just not inspired enough to write a fuller response. Today, LinkedIn addressed that issue on its own platform, with the introduction of four new reactions people can use in response to posts in their timelines. In addition to “like,” you can now react in four other ways to posts with icons that indicate “celebrate,” “love,” “insightful” and “curious.”
I find it “curious” and “insightful” that there isn’t a “haha” among them. Not many laughs or entertainment to be found on LinkedIn, I guess?
LinkedIn’s rollout comes in the wake of similar moves on other social platforms — perhaps most noticeably on Facebook, which launched an expanded set of reaction buttons more than three years ago.
LinkedIn has never been one for jumping quickly to new trends, but this nevertheless shows that it’s listening and understands that it has to provide more to users to make its platform more dynamic, to help spur more engagement (and in turn more people posting to the platform).
LinkedIn product manager Cissy Chen notes that the company based its selection of reactions on the kinds of conversations that people are already having on LinkedIn — and probably the kinds of conversations that LinkedIn would like to continue to encourage– and also what people were writing most commonly when providing one- or two-word terse responses.
Typically, posts cluster in two groups, she noted: those from people announcing new professional roles or milestones; and those sharing learnings from somewhere else. Hence, the reactions lean in two directions, one giving encouragement and one more contemplative.
LinkedIn I think likely has two wider goals by providing tools like this: one is to get more users engaged on its platform; and the other is to use it as part of its feature moat to remain competitive with other social platforms that might encroach on its space.
In the years since Microsoft acquired the company, I’d argue that the iterations the company has made to different aspects of its service have decreased somewhat. That makes LinkedIn more open to other companies coming in and creating more useful and modern replacements in some of its most lucrative areas of business, such as recruitment.
On the other hand, platforms like Facebook have been quick to add ever more features and functionality.
Facebook may today be far from providing the same kind of recruiter tools, or database of working professionals and their experience; but its own efforts in recruitment services and mentoring are direct competitors to LinkedIn’s social tools for the working world, providing a kind of lite alternative.
For LinkedIn to continue to keep people around, and to attract new users who might otherwise consider newer and less expensive alternatives, even incremental additions like this one can make a difference.