LinkedIn, after some well-documented fits and starts in the social business networking world in its formative stages a decade ago, was acquired by Microsoft last June, has steadied itself and has resumed its position as arguably the most popular business-oriented social network in the business.
Now it's innovating upon its own previous innovation, although it's not exactly using breakthrough tech. As of April 13, it's adding a "smart" instant messaging to its conventional email-oriented intramural communications.
As part of the company's continuing desktop redesign initiative, members now can reach out using a new messaging tab to any of their connections--whether or not they're on the site looking at jobs or updating their profiles.
Part of the idea is to try and keep its 467 million subscribers linked in to LinkedIn for more than a few minutes per week, which is what a large portion of its user base does. The messaging update is part of the company's goal to become more than only a go-to place for job seekers.
LinkedIn said that it's recorded a 40 percent increase in messaging in the past year and that about half of its members are using messaging as their first point of contact with business associates.
"We've made messaging easier to use and more accessible from anywhere on the LinkedIn desktop experience," product manager Sammy Shreibati wrote in a blog post. "Whether you're reconnecting with a former colleague, searching for a job, or looking for a potential candidate, you now have the ability to start an instant conversation. This means that you'll never lose context when reaching out to your network.
"For example, you can have a conversation with a connection without ever leaving their profile, or reach out to someone directly from the LinkedIn Feed."
If you're responding to a message, LinkedIn also has made it easier for users to reply quickly with one tap on a mobile device. "For example, 'Thanks' and 'I'll get back to you,'" Shreibati said.
Go here to see a video on how the new messaging feature works.