Back in October, LinkedIn rolled out a feature that allowed users to follow "thought leaders," who used their expertise to educate the public about everything from specific industries to U.S. politics. The program ended up being successful enough that in one month people such as Sir Richard Branson, President Obama, Deepak Chopra, Mitt Romney, and Arianna Huffington had hundreds of thousands of LinkedIn members following them.
"We knew it would be interesting, but we didn't know what to expect," said Francesca Levy, an editor for LinkedIn Today. Levy spoke with WebProNews about the thought leaders program and a new feature that launched today.
This week, LinkedIn unveiled it's "Biggest Ideas of 2013," a package of essays from top thought leaders on what they believe will be the big idea in the coming year. Since no specific criteria was mentioned, the essays cover a wide assortment of topics.
In some cases, the ideas are rather provocative. Richard Branson, the most followed LinkedIn thought leader with over 1 million followers, framed his big idea of ending the war on drugs as the only competent business decision the world can make.
Other big ideas include Arianna Huffington's prioritization of beating stress, Ron Baker's dismissal of efficiency worries, and Phil Baumann's "Let's Kill Charity Capitalism." Ideas ranged from personal growth goals to bold declarations to how emerging technologies will change our world. The essays can all be found here on LinkedIn Today.
Though commentary about the war on drugs or beating stress may seem out of place on a career networking social network, Levy explains that it all falls under LinkedIn's overall goal.
"LinkedIn's goal is to help members get better at what they do or hope to do," said Levy. Now that LinkedIn has solved the networking issue, the idea is that LinkedIn today can help keep members' careers on track with relevant information.
LinkedIn's thought leaders are generally chosen for their expertise and recognition within industry and business, and help to set a tone for understanding the modern workplace and the world surrounding it. In some cases, thought leaders are chosen for their expertise in a niche industry, as many LinkedIn members seek content specific their own work. Levy stated that the thought leaders chosen to put forward their big ideas for 2013 have demonstrated their ability to comment effectively on topics of interest to LinkedIn members.