LinkedIn has about 135 million users. When compared to Facebook’s 800 million, that may not seem like a lot – but the people on LinkedIn aren’t talking about what they had for lunch. This is an app to help you connect with real business professionals at conferences and meetings when Facebook or Twitter is too informal.
The LinkedIn Android app helps you stay in touch with your business partners and potential leads on the go. I recently attended a conference on innovation and thought the people there would be tech-saavy enough to have moved beyond the traditional business card, so I got my phone ready to do some 21st century networking.
Navigation and Home Screen
The LinkedIn app’s navigation bar has a shortcut for creating a status update, a drop down menu to move between different sections of the app (Updates, You, Inbox, and More – I’ll get into these in a minute), and a search button.
The home screen shows “LinkedIn Today”, the three most popular stories of the day from your chosen categories, just under the navigation bar. Under the latest stories are the recent updates from your network, including the newest connections in your network and status updates from your connections.
You, You, You
The You section of the LinkedIn app is all about, you guessed it, you. It shows your picture, name, title and location, and allows you to create a status update.
There is a link to your recent activity and the Connections, which is one of my favorite parts of LinkedIn; this section lists “People You May Know” which is often has really interesting people to connect with and expand your network.
LinkedIn You Section
Below these sections is the information you have already added to LinkedIn on the web, including your Specialties, Experience, Education, Websites, and Additional Information (Twitter, birthday). Unfortunately I didn’t find a way to edit your information directly in the app, so if you’d like to add the conference you are attending to your experience you’ll have to use your browser to do so.
Oddly enough if you click on any of the website buttons or Twitter it will take you there using a browser interface inside the LinkedIn app but there are no links to edit your profile information.
The Inbox section allows you to see incoming invitations and has another link to the People You May Know section. You can view all your messages, and by clicking on an individual message you can archive, delete, or reply to it. You are also able to write new messages, and create new invitations by tapping on the button in the top left corner (which generally acts as the “action” button).
When writing a new message you are able to add multiple recipients, which is a must-have feature in my opinion so I’m glad they included it. When creating a new invitation, tapping the Add button will bring up your Android contacts so you can add email addresses into the message to invite people to join your network.
The More… section of the LinkedIn app shows People You May Know again (there’s no missing that list!) and also lists groups that you have joined. Visiting an individual group shows you its recent activity, and allows you to “like” or comment on individual activity within the groups.
Also within a group, tapping the action button on the top left will allow you to start a new discussion. This where you can get the most out of being in a LinkedIn group: by asking questions of your fellow group mates.
Creating a status update on LinkedIn is fairly straightforward, and there are links to the status update section from many parts of the app so it’s not hard to get to. Like Facebook and Google+, LinkedIn allows you to change the visibility of the post so that either anyone can see it, or only your connections. You can optionally send your status update out to Twitter, too, if you have connected your account.
LinkedIn Status Update
The News section is really one of the more useful features of LinkedIn and one of the reasons I’ll come back to use it again. You are able to follow news from different categories of your choice, like Internet, Computer Software, and Online Media.
Free from the distractions of other social networks (cat pictures), you can focus on your business life to at least feel productive by reading some news from your industry. The best part is the in-app browser so you aren’t jumping back and forth between the app and an outside browser when you want to read different stories. This also makes it easier and faster to move through the news stories, only reading what is really interesting for you.
LinkedIn External News Story
You can send a message with a link to the article to any of your connections as well as the ability to comment on any article. Comments are just like status updates; you can control the visibility and post them to Twitter if you desire.
The LinkedIn app is great for business-minded Androiders who want to expand their professional network. The news from LinkedIn is all business related and categorized, for distraction-free consumption. The app is intuitive and elegant with almost all the features of the online version so it doesn’t feel limited in any way – with the exception of not being able to update your information (though I don’t plan to update my resume on the go anyway).
You can sync your contacts with the LinkedIn app (a feature I didn’t try, after having bad experiences with the Facebook sync feature, but it could be useful for some people). Overall the app is great and feels every bit as professional as I expected it to be coming from LinkedIn.