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LinkedIn Stories: Must-Have or Epic Fail?

LinkedIn has a new, fresh update. The new look’s main feature is LinkedIn’s version of Stories, but there’s also a streamlined search function, a new video chat feature, and a still-to-be-released dark mode.

LinkedIn announced the global launch of its Stories function after a five-month trial in selected countries. The function is similar to Instagram’s or Snapchat’s: You take a photo, add text or a GIF and upload it to your profile for all your business connections to see for 24 hours. (You can also change your privacy settings to control who sees what.) LinkedIn has also posted all your of connections’ Stories at the top of your home feed.

Stories may not sound like the right feature for LinkedIn, but the company claims that there are some benefits to consider: LinkedIn’s senior director of product, Liz Li, said that early tests revealed that some users are more willing to share when they know the post will disappear after one day, rather than stay on their LinkedIn profile forever. The feature aims to engage users who have found sharing to be intimidating in the past; LinkedIn leadership hopes it’ll spark more content from people who aren’t very active in sharing.

Li also made the case that Stories can help employees feel connected at a time when many are still working from home and may feel disconnected from coworkers. That said, she notes the intention is to keep things professional.
Stories will also feature a “question of the day” to help stimulate conversations similar to those you would have in the workplace.

The addition of Stories—and a new “warmer” appearance—might seem unusual for a professional app like LinkedIn, but it shouldn’t be a huge surprise. LinkedIn says the feature is especially suited to 2020’s “new normal” of remote working and allows people to “replace those essential water cooler moments.”

Unfortunately, it looks like users aren’t sold on the web site’s new look or function. The emphasis on Stories makes it similar to other social media networks, and many people question whether a professional network should be trying to look like Facebook or Instagram.

The general response to LinkedIn Stories seems to be: Why would we need this?

Similar to the controversial ‘new Facebook’ look, the shift to a more content-oriented, mobile design isn’t being accepted with open arms. Only time will tell if the new feature will be a success, but as we have seen, anything can happen in 2020.

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