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Will LinkedIn Miss the Tweets?

At the end of June, Twitter ended its long-standing partnership with LinkedIn, meaning that users’ tweets would no longer be shared simultaneously on their LinkedIn feeds. The move was announced on LinkedIn’s blog, where it was also explained that posts on LinkedIn can still be shared on Twitter as they have been since 20091. The move by Twitter is an attempt to attract more direct traffic to their site in the wake of the new expanded Twitter feature and other improvements to the site. In their own blog post that announced a tightening of the guidelines for using Twitter’s API, but strategically omitted mentioning LinkedIn directly, Twitter’s Michael Sippey indicated that the change was a part of enforcing their Rules of the Road with their partners2.

It remains to be seen whether this will have any significant impact on LinkedIn, and on the surface it seems to be a step backward for Twitter because users will still be able to post to Twitter while on LinkedIn, but will be unable to post directly to LinkedIn from their own site. This means that users will have to leave Twitter to make their LinkedIn posts. It would seem that this will encourage users to leave Twitter, but perhaps they have chosen to cut off LinkedIn for a reason.

The two social networks occupy opposite ends of the social media spectrum, with Twitter being aimed at users sharing with friends and family what they are doing, where they are, and whom they are with. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a professional network where users tend to be career focused, and friends and family are not generally part of their network. The size of the messages on Twitter also stands worlds apart from the kinds of things that people share on LinkedIn and it is unlikely that businesses are going to use Twitter to advertise for new employees.

As Twitter appears to be traveling down the road to becoming another publicly listed dot com company, the move to break off its partnership with LinkedIn can be seen as a low-risk way to differentiate their service and show that they have been developing their site. With half a billion users, Twitter is a huge marketing opportunity and in order for Twitter to show the sorts of engagement with their advertising that will encourage a healthy share price, they have to encourage the sort of use that takes full advantage of all of their new features. Shared tweets on sites like LinkedIn haven’t been displaying their new expanded tweet format, but they obviously weren’t encouraging much traffic to Twitter either. Perhaps Twitter feels that they can do without the small amount of traffic from LinkedIn in order to have more control over how their content is viewed.

Twitter has developed what may be the best advertising model of all of the social networks because it works very will with mobile users of the site. In order to show the value of the advertising to potential investors, Twitter needs to keep people on its site for longer periods and one way is to cut off the sites that Twitter will allow to take its feeds. This will naturally force many users onto Twitter to follow their favorite Tweeters. On the other side of the severed partnership, it seems doubtful that LinkedIn users will be much affected by the inability to have their tweets posted to their LinkedIn newsfeed, and it may even increase many users’ engagement with the site as they log in to make their updates manually. In the end, Twitter may have done LinkedIn a favor.


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