Menu
Meet the new LinkedIn, now also for career-focused teens

Meet the new LinkedIn, now also for career-focused teens

The site wants to expand its user base to college-minded teens

Forget the older crowd. LinkedIn now wants to help teenagers get into college and find a good job, in a strategy shift that analysts said could eventually pay off for the company.

Traditionally a site for business professionals, LinkedIn changed its terms of service recently to let younger people register. While the age limit was previously 18 or over, 14-year-olds can now join in the U.S., Canada, Spain and several other countries. In other places the minimum age is 13.

LinkedIn hopes people who may not even be old enough to drive a car will now turn to the site to connect with colleges, alumni and older working people to jump-start their careers.

Young people apparently have little time to waste.

"Smart, ambitious students are already thinking about their futures when they step foot into high school -- where they want to go to college, what they want to study, where they want to live and work," said Eric Heath, LinkedIn's legal director for global privacy and public policy, in a blog post announcing the changes, which were effective Sept. 12.

While that may be true for some, whether teenagers will use LinkedIn to help map out their lives remains to be seen.

For certain students, LinkedIn could be a valuable service. A critical element related to the new age policies, for instance, is LinkedIn's new University Pages, which let colleges and universities deliver news through the site, answer questions and engage with LinkedIn members.

For college-minded, tech-savvy students who know schools are looking at them online, LinkedIn's new age requirements are a great idea, said Charlene Li, an industry analyst with the Altimeter Group.

"Older teens who want to brand themselves online will be doing this," she said.

But for younger teenagers -- the 13-, 14- and 15-year-olds for whom college may not yet be on their radar -- LinkedIn may be stretching it. "LinkedIn is not exactly a natural place for them," Li said. More natural places for teens to congregate online might be Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat.

By catering to a younger demographic, LinkedIn doesn't really risk diluting its brand because it is still focused ultimately on careers, analysts said.

LinkedIn's main issue is attracting more users, and opening its doors to a younger audience could help achieve that, though it won't happen overnight, said Brian Blau, an analyst with Gartner.

LinkedIn went public in 2011 and is under pressure to grow its user base. The site has about 238 million active users, a spokeswoman said. Facebook, meanwhile, has more than a billion.

The site's University Pages and new age policies provide an opportunity for growth, LinkedIn spokeswoman Crystal Braswell said. The site already has 30 million students and recent college grads as members, and they're the fastest-growing demographic on the site, Braswell said.

With around 1,000 University Pages, only a small slice of the world's colleges have a presence on LinkedIn, but roughly 200 are being added each week, Braswell said.

LinkedIn hopes teachers, parents, counselors and family friends will help in guiding students through the process of setting up an account.

"Colleges and counselors could help get the word out," Altimeter's Li said. The University Pages and new age policy might not lead to big gains in the immediate future but the site could benefit down the road, she said.

In a year or two, some high schools could make it a requirement for college-bound students to sign up on the site, Li said.

But LinkedIn must be careful not to add more stress to a process that's highly commercialized in some countries, and complicated by guidebooks and rankings, said Gartner's Blau. Students don't need any more pressure, he said, but having another resource could be a good thing.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags social mediainternetLinkedInsocial networkingInternet-based applications and services

Events

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

This year’s Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards were held as an integral part of the first entirely virtual Emerging Leaders​ forum, an annual event dedicated to identifying, educating and showcasing the New Zealand technology market’s rising stars. The 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 recognised the outstanding achievements and business excellence of 30 talented individuals​, across both young leaders and those just starting out. In this slideshow, Reseller News honours this year's winners and captures their thoughts about how their ideas of leadership have changed over time.​

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners
Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

This exclusive Reseller News Exchange event in Auckland explored the challenges facing the partner community on the cloud security frontier, as well as market trends, customer priorities and how the channel can capitalise on the opportunities available. In association with Arrow, Bitdefender, Exclusive Networks, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security
Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2019 inductees - Leanne Buer, Ross Jenkins and Terry Dunn - to the fourth running of the Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed the changing face of the IT channel ecosystem in New Zealand and what it means to be a Reseller News Hall of Fame inductee. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch
Show Comments