As social networks go, LinkedIn is not as flashy as MySpace or as "vox populi" as Facebook, but it gets the job done, especially for those of us in the real working world with a handful of new add-ons ready to download.LinkedIn, which counts 30 million members in its net, rolled out the features in late October as proof of concept that it needed $22.7 million in another round of funding, on the heels of a $53 million infusion a few months earlier.
The applications are built by some of the better-known software widget makers like Box.net, SlideShare, and Huddle.net, as well as the big guns like Google, WordPress, Six Apart, and Amazon.com.
The goal, according to the site, is to allow subscribers and your network of contacts to share and collaborate within LinkedIn's walls. It's very similar to what we're seeing in the market with Google Apps and Facebook. At launch, LinkedIn added nine applications. More are expected.
The basic problem with most widgets is that you have to subscribe to the third-party provider's system and so does the person you're collaborating with. I found that to be a no-win situation when I signed up for one photo service and my wife signed up for a different one.
Here's the short list with my take on some of them:
Overall, LinkedIn has a ways to go to grow its apps business and still maintain its integrity, which so far, it has done a good job at. If this and other social networks are to build mindshare and revenue, however, they may be best served to simplify the sign-up processes for third-party applications so that subscribers don't feel like they have to fill out a software stack full of forms.
If you want to view my profile, I'm at linkedin.com/in/msinger.