Professional social networking site LinkedIn is rolling out a new feature ‘mention’ that allows users to mention and hyperlink people and companies on the network in status updates and conversations.
Inspired by social sites like Twitter and Facebook, the professional network is introducing mention to make it easier to start conversations with your peers on LinkedIn.
The feature works the same way as it does on Facebook, suggesting a name from a drop-down menu when the user begins to type it. The person or company you mention will receive a notification alerting them that they have been mentioned.
But unlike Twitter or Facebook, LinkedIn has opted to limit mentions to your connections – the people you actually know – and those participating in comment threads on the home page. Basically, you can’t just call out any person you want.
The slight twist is a fascinating professional caveat that could irritate some members, but may keep high-profile or celebrity users from being inundated with notifications.
The limitation also maintains LinkedIn’s we-only-want-you-to-communicate-with-direct-connections-unless-you-pay-us model, as members can only message non-connections through “InMail” if they pay for a premium membership.
“Linkedin members are involved in millions of conversations across Linkedin day after day,” said the company’s Associate Product Manager, Angela Yoonjeong Yang in a blog post on Thursday. “That’s why we want to make it even easier for you to start those conversations, share knowledge with one another and ultimately become even better at what you do.”
This feature will begin rolling out to our English-speaking members today, and will be expanding to all global members at a later date.
The new mentions feature follows last month’s LinkedIn announcement of an overhaul of its search function, where it added new, deeper capabilities. The site’s search function now supports more than an individual person, company, or job queries; simply type a word or phrase into the search box and a comprehensive page of results will appear.
Last year, LinkedIn announced another new feature ‘endoresements’ that allowed users to recognize professionals for their expertise. Endorsements allow Linkedin users’ connections to endorse one of their skills that they’ve listed on their profile or recommend one that they haven’t added yet.
However, the feature was not very well received by users, with many taking to the professional network’s website to complain that it was devaluing profiles. Perhaps the mentioning tool will be more welcome once it’s rolled out for everyone. When this might happen is unknown, as the feature is still undergoing testing.