LinkedIn may be the most annoying social network-but its strategy is working

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Making fun of LinkedIn is so easy. The professional network is 18 years old-Methuselah by social media standards. Its insistence on adding Instagram-style features seems daunting. Why would anyone want to put a disappearing photo on their LinkedIn page? Who wants to be a LinkedIn influencer?

The company is not deterred and is planning more bells and whistles. Last week, it announced a $25 million “creator fund” to encourage users to post more content. Short videos like TikTok are on the road. Soon it will launch its own version of Clubhouse, the audio chat room application that plunged Silicon Valley into chaos last year.

Kill your snickers. The strangest thing about these efforts is that they seem to have worked. In the past three years, LinkedIn has added approximately 200 million new users. Its annual revenue has almost doubled, reaching 10 billion U.S. dollars. This is the growth of the Facebook level. Not bad for the most nerdy social network in the world.

Perhaps stupidity can explain LinkedIn’s success. The advantage of a low-key reputation lies in the ability to maintain the trust squandered by other social media companies. A friend of mine was asked by a potential date if they could contact via LinkedIn before the meeting so she could check if he was the person he said. Her reason is that no one falsified LinkedIn personal information.

Although the world is worried about the destructive effects of social media, LinkedIn has been able to gather three-quarters of its billion users without any hindrance. In the process of writing this column, I realized that I now have more LinkedIn contacts than friends on Facebook, followers on Instagram, or numbers saved on my phone.

What is less obvious is the value of these connections. It’s easy to click “Yes” on the email asking to join your LinkedIn community. But if my contacts are gathered in one room, I will not know who many of them are. They might say the same thing to me. LinkedIn may be the world’s largest platform for professionals, but it lacks the addictive qualities to allow people to refresh their Instagram feeds or scroll through TikTok.

When Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26 billion in 2016, people thought it was spending a huge amount of money on an unprofitable job site. Some people speculate that Microsoft is really catching up with LinkedIn’s amiable founder Reid Hoffman (Reid Hoffman). Hoffman is a member of the PayPal Mafia, whose former PayPal executives include Elon Musk and Peter Thiel. The relationship is very good and very popular. Microsoft shoulders the mission of transforming its business and needs his help.

When Hoffman joined the Microsoft board of directors, LinkedIn was left with its own device. It is located in a pretty charming office in the center of San Francisco and makes money by selling advertising, recruitment services and premium memberships. I mainly use it to check people’s positions.

Can voice chat rooms and TikTok-style short videos allow us to spend more time on the website? maybe. LinkedIn says that public conversations between users have increased by more than a third in the past year. This kind of participation is very popular with advertisers. LinkedIn’s advertising revenue last quarter was $1 billion—almost twice the previous year—even though it was cautious about profits.

Microsoft boss Satya Nadella is clearly interested in content creation and online communities. Therefore, Microsoft tried to acquire the American TikTok business and its interest in Pinterest and the chat application Discord.

In order for LinkedIn to be more attractive, the content must be more interesting than congratulating your coworkers on their first anniversary. There are many admirers of Tony Robbins who offer humble bragging and clichés that “hard work pays off”. The challenge for the company is to encourage people with valuable knowledge to share it. Have an appetite for this. The appeal of Clubhouse is not only the audio, but the conversations are usually composed of professionals who provide insights about their industry. Other social media underserved such connections.

If successful, the competitor is expected to immediately provide a copycat version. By encouraging users to find jobs on its platform, Facebook has eroded LinkedIn’s territory. This summer, TikTok launched a pilot program called TikTok Resumes. U.S. users are encouraged to find their “dream job” by uploading a video resume.

LinkedIn is off to a good start. If it continues to increase sales, it will prove itself a valuable purchase for Microsoft. Consider that Facebook has a trillion-dollar market value-more than 11 times its annual revenue. If LinkedIn were valued in the same way, it would be worth at least $100 billion. Maybe it is not that expensive after all.

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