I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really got my head around LinkedIn. It does the connections thing very well, but I’ve never considered it as a social networks. It’s not a place I go to, you know, faff about. So do I want it on my iPad? Ummm.
Is social network apps go, the LinkedIn app for iPad looks very good. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it looks great, as my colleague Ryan Fass wrote yesterday. It looks professional, which is of course exactly how it wants to present itself.
LinkedIn is a place for professional people, for businessy people doing businessy things in airports. So it looks clean and smart. Businessy.
The three primary content sections do different jobs, and are accessed from a central “home page” (which you return to by tapping the LinkedIn logo in the top-left corner).
Profile is obvious; your profile, fully editable and updatable via LinkedIn’s Twitter-style updates system. The inbox gets you into LinkedIn’s internal mail system, and it’s designed to closely resemble the Mail app that comes with iOS. There’s a message list on the left, message content on the right. The “search for people” feature in the top-right is a nice touch.
What I find most interesting is the Updates section, which aggregates all the updates from your contacts, activity in groups you’ve joined, and news articles pulled in from third parties on the web. The interesting thing is the way it’s been styled: it’s very much like a digital magazine. LinkedIn wants you to open this thing up and sit and read through it.
And that’s important, because this section is only going to be interesting – I mean actually, genuinely inspiring – if you’re someone who makes heavy use of LinkedIn for the purpose of social networking. I don’t do that, and the result is an Updates section that looks, and reads, like the dullest in-flight magazine you’ve ever seen. It’s a bunch of very generic business-oriented articles (“Coping with email overload” and so on) that frankly isn’t going to have me rushing back for me.
Now, to be clear, the problem here isn’t LinkedIn, it’s me. I’m not engaged enough with LinkedIn to make this app shine to its full potential, and as a result it doesn’t really push my buttons.
If you, like me, only go to LinkedIn to check out invites every now and again, you won’t get much from this app. You’re probably better off browsing LinkedIn’s mobile site when you feel the need.
But if, on the other hand, you spend a lot of time on LinkedIn for LinkedIn’s sake – well, you should certainly have this app installed, because it was made just for you.
Pro: Slick, smart, professional.
Con: Not for all LinkedIn users, only the very LinkedIn ones.