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  • Ishbel Macleod

LinkedIn launches Stories: is it a step too far?

LinkedIn Stories

LinkedIn has made a huge amount of changes recently – from company pages, to the launch of LinkedIn Events. One of the newest and most surprising announcements was that LinkedIn is launching its own Stories functionality.

The use of Stories has been growing in popularity over the last few years – from Snapchat to Instagram, with Facebook getting in on the act and heavily pushing the option. But does it really suit a professional platform?

On most platforms, Stories are short, snappy videos or images with text or stickers overlaid that can only be seen by followers for 24 hours before they disappear.

According to LinkedIn’s announcement, the feature is rolling out originally for students in the US and will only allow videos, with the average length to be roughly 30-45 seconds. The videos will appear on a ‘campus playlist’ on LinkedIn for a week before disappearing. However, they will remain on a user’s Recent Activity page.

Why is LinkedIn launching Stories?

LinkedIn product manager Isha Patel said that the launch of the ‘Student Voices’ stories functionality is to help students connect with each other and create a sense of community.

This allows users to share footage from events such as internships, projects and career fairs – which could potentially attract future employers and help the students to grow their LinkedIn network of contacts before graduation.

Why is LinkedIn Stories a good idea?

In an era of Instagrammers, it seems like Microsoft’s LinkedIn is trying to find a way to relate.

LinkedIn has definitely been becoming more visual over recent years, with the launch of native video, multiple photos and even allowing gif replies in private messaging.

If ads are introduced, it could also be a way for companies to promote graduate schemes: the likelihood is that students will be the ones most likely to watch the videos – especially their own.

It could also be argued that the majority of LinkedIn’s posts are self-promotional anyway (who hasn’t come across a ‘motivational’ post about if you also got up at 3am every morning, ran a marathon, then got into work at 6am until 10pm, you could also be a successful businessman by 26?) so Stories just adds to this.

Why is LinkedIn Stories a bad idea?

Stories are normally supposed to be about capturing a live moment that you don’t want to clutter up your feed or to be on your permanent ‘social media record’, so to speak. Yes, people can screengrab, but the idea is that after 24 hours or so, they are gone for good – unless you decide to keep them.

While the Stories will disappear from the college or university page after a week, the fact they remain on a user’s page could be a major turn-off for users. The live nature means Stories tend to be off-the-cuff affairs, not the polished or curated works that many students might want to share with prospective employers.

For that matter – how many employers will have the time to scroll through videos (remember – no photos for LinkedIn’s Student Voice Stories!) to see who comes across well? Unless there is additional tagging functionality, it seems like it would be a long and thankless task for employers, and after a potential first flush, we predict it will shrivel up.

Overall, we don't think that Stories will work well on LinkedIn, but we'll be keeping an eye out...

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