LinkedIn announced a new product today called LinkedIn Skills, which is designed to show areas of expertise, and who has the skills in these areas.
So, for example, you can search for iPhone and find out who on LinkedIn is skilled in this area. You will find John Geleynse, Director, Technology Evangelism at Apple, other Apple execs, Evan Dollm Cofounder at Flipboard, etc. The usefulness seems rather limited at this point unless you're looking to recruit some pretty high profile people, but the product is in beta. If you're looking for top writers, your top options are apparently Barack Obama and Chris Brogan.
Of course LinkedIn isn't just about jobs. It's about networking.
"With today's increasingly competitive marketplace, LinkedIn is offering the unique ability to pinpoint top experts for a particular skill set, in addition to providing relevant and actionable insights about trending skills that can help professionals manage their careers," said DJ Patil, LinkedIn's chief scientist. "Through LinkedIn Skills we believe we have a whole new way of understanding the landscape of skills - who has them and how they are changing over time – and how truly diverse the universe of skills actually is, whether it’s java or ballet."
The Skills pages do provide a list of related skills that you can browse, as well as lists of related companies, jobs, and groups.
"If you search for a particular skill, we'll surface key people within that community, show you the top locations, related companies, relevant jobs, and groups where you can interact with like minded professionals," says LinkedIn's Peter Skomoroch. "You'll also be able to explore similar skills and compare their growth relative to each other."
"One thing you'll find is that the universe of skills is much more diverse than you might expect," he says.
Users are encouraged to add skills to their profiles, join group discussions, and follow related companies for each skill to optimize their skills potential. LinkedIn also suggests "nudging" your connections to get them to add skill they might be missing.
LinkedIn currently has over 90 million members.