LinkedIn Turns to Twitter for Professional Tweeting

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-11-10

LinkedIn Nov. 10 agreed to add Twitter's tweeting capability to its network of 50 million business professionals in a deal for which financial terms were not made public.

Soon LinkedIn users will be able to tweet their status to Twitter and to their LinkedIn connections, broadcasting what's going on with them.

Status updates have been an important part of LinkedIn, with working professionals using it to alert others to sales leads, new jobs and other business opportunities. Twitter is the king of the status update, with millions of users blasting out 140 messages to followers each day.  

Users will join their LinkedIn and Twitter accounts by checking the Twitter box under the Network Updates box on their LinkedIn homepage and following the prompts.

Users will be able to specify the Twitter account that they'd like to sync and display on their LinkedIn profile. Users can then check a box to share all of their tweets, or just select tweets marked by #li or #in hashtags on LinkedIn as a status update.

"As a professional online and in the real world, you'll often find articles or think of ideas that would be useful to share with your Twitter followers and your LinkedIn connections," said Allen Blue, vice president of product strategy at LinkedIn, which he also co-founded. "It's about sparking interesting conversations. Now you can share from anywhere."

LinkedIn is the leading social networking for professionals, growing to 50 million users in over 200 countries since its inception in May 2003. However, Facebook has soared to more 300 million users since it launched in Februrary 2004, sparking speculation that many people have turned to the leading social network for their personal and professional connections.

LinkedIn's application development platform, so promising when it was launched one year ago, also seems to be floundering. Can enabling Twitter tweets revitalize LinkedIn?

The LinkedIn-Twitter deals comes two three weeks after Microsoft and Google agreed to index Twitter tweets to make them easily search able on Google search and Microsoft Bing.

No financial details were announced for those deals either, but Twitter could be incurring some nice, new revenue streams by opening up its data feed to the search and enterprise social networking powers. Twitter this summerbanked a reported $100 funding round, so the company is clearly not hurting for cash.

But the company has been slow to make its business model clear, and investors will eventually want to see some return-on-investment bang for their bucks. Twitter has yet to spell out the company's plans to make money.

Looked at another way, Twitter's investors would not have pumped so much money into the business if they weren't confident in its ability to cultivate revenue streams. And what of those thus far shadowy revenue streams? Advertising and analytics as part of a so-called Twitter Pro service are expected.

Meanwhile, the company's innovation has picked up of late. Twitter recently released a promising new feature called Lists to let users curate groups of users they wish to follow, or have followed by others.  

Editor's note: This story was updated with revised information about LinkedIn's global membership.

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