[Update: as of 29th July 2013, LinkedIn has removed the LinkedIn Signal functionality from the site. A real pity because of its immense utility – if there are any ways to find the information it used to provide then I will report back here.
Update 2: You can now once again see Updates but only from individuals rather than be able to search teh site in its entirety. There is a post about this on this site here.]
LinkedIn have added another feature today, LinkedIn Search Updates, that will help you to reach out a just that little bit further into the 90m people that are currently members of the site by giving you the ability to search what they are writing about and sharing with others on LinkedIn. And it can be incredibly powerful!
If you were aware of LinkedIn Signal announced last year, then this is it … or at least the first incarnation. It comes in the form of a rather innocent looking Search box that sits on your homepage just above the Updates that appear there – however, this is actually quite a revolution (and revelation) because of the access it now gives you to what’s being said across the whole of the LinkedIn network, rather than just your 1st level connections as is still the default situation on your homepage update stream.
For me it has the feel of the new Twitter search function but it gives you much more than that. As a result, I can really see myself using this a lot as a way to research topics of interest as well as find the type of people that I’m looking to connect with – this time of course doing so through what they’re sharing rather than simply what they’ve written on their profile.
- Firstly, the content on there is likely to be more business focussed so if you are looking for comments on a subject from people in a certain company or industry then you should have access to a greater quality here than elsewhere (in spite of many people linking up their Twitter account here without filter!);
- Secondly – and this is key – once you have your search results, the can then filter them further by connection level, company, time, location, industry as well as topics. This allows you to cut out all the “unwanted noise” and focus in on the information you really want to look at;
- Like on the rest of LinkedIn, you can then quickly and easily find out more about them by hovering over their name for you to then decide if you want to look at their full profile or connect. Immediately.
- Don’t forget that you can also save the searches that you have created so that you can come back and re-check them at your leisure.
In addition to the results, there’s also a display on the right hand side of what they call “Today’s Headlines” which displays stories fitting your search. An additional benefit to see what others are recommending I guess.
I really think that this is going to change the way that a lot of people use LinkedIn – it starts to tap into that real time search element that Twitter has dominated but brings an extra level of sophistication to it, making it that much more useful to the business user. I believe.
Anyway, there’ll be a follow up post looking in more detail at the ways that you can use this and the business benefits it can bring, but try it out for yourself and I’d be very happy to hear of some of the ways you think you’ll be using it going forward!