LinkedIn has become perhaps one of the last online services to add native video support to its app. The company revealed on Thursday that it’s now letting some users either upload or create videos directly through its flagship app, a feature that it claims has been in high demand. The catch here is that only a “small group of creators” are going to be able to use this as part of an early beta, but there are plans to open it more globally later this year.
The support for native video comes nearly a year after the Microsoft-owned company began exploring whether its members would be interested. In August, LinkedIn launched a standalone iOS app called Record that lets you publish 30-second video clips in response to curated topics that were established by LinkedIn’s editorial team, or you could start your own. At the time, only 500 influencers on the professional social network had access.
Now that LinkedIn’s mobile app is getting native video support, the company has shuttered Record. It has not disclosed usage of the app. At launch, senior product manager Jasper Sherman-Presser once told me: “We’ve been kind of testing this very quietly with our influencer base, and have seen a ton of repeat usage. For members, being able to every day come to LinkedIn and hear from people they respect at the top of their game and sharing a glimpse of their world is a success for LinkedIn.”
Those granted permission to upload video can do so by simply recording a video on their phone and then uploading it by tapping on a camera button underneath the status bar on LinkedIn’s app. Videos can be as short as 30 seconds or as long as 10 minutes and will automatically play when viewed in the News Feed. LinkedIn supports horizontal or vertical videos, but don’t try and rotate your camera midway through filming because the app won’t compensate for the different perspective.
“LinkedIn Stars”, err content creators, will also receive access to insights and perspectives on the social network, meaning that if you view a video of mine, I’ll be provided analytics on likes, shares, the company you worked at, your job title, and more. Most of the insights are common with the likes of Facebook and Twitter, but what’s interesting is the somewhat personally identifiable information. Sure, you’re not getting my name, but you are getting that I work at Intercom and I’m a senior editor, at least what’s listed on my LinkedIn profile.
This can be a small and good differentiator for some people. While LinkedIn is slow to get into the video space, there’s an entirely different use case than sharing on Facebook or Twitter. First, LinkedIn is totally a professional social network while others are largely consumer. Yes, there are professional possibilities, but largely it’s about friends and family. LinkedIn is about networking and advancing your career so the content you might share in video format could be about helping someone figure out a problem, offer detailed explanations about a case study, or basically do a free and lower-quality version of what you’d find on Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning.
Some people aren’t able to immediately get to a computer or feel it’s worth typing out a post on their smartphone, but if you feel inclined to respond to breaking news, do a quick interview with someone your network might appreciate, such as Seth Godin, Mark Cuban, Sheryl Sandberg, etc., you just pop open your camera app, take a video recording, and upload it right to LinkedIn.
Of course if you want something much longer than 10 minutes, you can always upload it to YouTube and then share that video on your News Feed. It’s not a simple task, but it gets the job done.
“Our goal is to connect members to the professional content that matters most to them,” a LinkedIn spokesperson said in a statement. “Over the past several years, we’ve been working to enhance the content experience by diversifying the type of content members can access on LinkedIn, as well as improving the overall experience on both the creation and consumption side. With the upcoming launch of native videos on LinkedIn, we’re adding an additional way for members to post unique insights and perspectives on LinkedIn.”
Although in its infancy, what’s next for video sharing? Will LinkedIn allow brands and advertisers to sell against people’s content? Does the company have plans to deal with things such as violence or other issues that have befallen Facebook and YouTube? Will the professional social network allow users to feature videos in their profiles as a way to sell themselves to potential recruiters and network seekers? And what about livestreaming? Is that part of the plan?
It should be pointed out that LinkedIn is not implementing its version of Instagram or Snapchat Stories with support for video sharing. Videos are not ephemeral either so you can delete them whenever you want.