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How LinkedIn became the next best option for media professionals, after Twitter | What’s New in Publishing

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How LinkedIn became the next best option for media professionals, after Twitter | What’s New in Publishing

Microsoft-owned social platform for “managing your professional identity” has been growing in popularity for some time, and now it’s enjoying its special place

A year ago, when I wanted to talk seriously to some journalists about LinkedIn being a worthwhile network for journalism, most of the time I was laughed at. LinkedIn was considered a too-nice place, with little scandals, a relatively slow pace of product innovation and almost a boring place to be for a journalist.

Skip ahead twelve months and LinkedIn is a serious contender to take over Twitter’s place in the lives of many journalists globally.

In the 2023 edition of Reuters Institute’s “Journalism, media, and technology trends and predictions report”, LinkedIn has emerged as the most popular alternative according to media leaders from 53 countries, way ahead of any other network as a possible alternative.

And not only Twitter; some research suggests users who spend enough time on LinkedIn to consider it also a Facebook replacement. And despite its slow product development, now it’s also considered a viable platform to fairly quickly grow a newsletter.

So, what happened? How did LinkedIn turn from being the uncool kid on the block to the shiny alternative so many claim has made social networking a more useful experience?

LinkedIn’s path to the big leagues

LinkedIn claims it has 875 million “members”, but it does not release insights into its monthly active user (MAU) data which we can say with a reasonable certainty is smaller than 875 million.

Side note: Most newsrooms nowadays use the term “member” to indicate an active involvement, either by financial support or other means. Here the term is being used much more loosely to label anyone who registered an account and might have forgotten about it years ago and never touched it again.

According to Statista’s research, in the US, almost 50% of its app users used the app at least once a month and some have calculated that by the end of 2022 LinkedIn had 310 million MAUs.

To compare, Twitter’s monetizable daily active usage (mDAU) in Q2 2022 was 237.8 million, and in December it reported to have over 368 million monthly active users worldwide.

LinkedIn got an earlier start (2003) than Twitter (2006) and, probably because of its label as a “professional network”, was always a bit behind in terms of growth and platform innovation.

In December 2016, Microsoft completed its acquisition of LinkedIn, which analyst Ben Thompson of Stratechery at the time called unexpected, and explained that with LinkedIn Microsoft could form a direct relationship with its end users.

Microsoft went on to integrate some of LinkedIn features into its tools and today, if you are using Outlook, you can see your contact’s LinkedIn profile, to give one example.

Its big redesign in 2017 made it look like Facebook, which some considered a smart move and others hated (as with all redesigns, I guess).

In 2021, LinkedIn’s revenue surpassed $10 billion and its advertising business surpassed $1 billion. In 2022, LinkedIn’s subscription business also surpassed $1 billion.

LinkedIn was probably the last app to introduce the Stories format in 2021 and it didn’t stick, so was turned off a year later. The social network was also the last one to introduce newsletters, but unlike Twitter and Facebook that shut them down, newsletters on LinkedIn thrive.

In a recent interview, the platform’s chief product officer, Tomer Cohen, said they have 150 million newsletter subscriptions running right now on the platform, growing extremely quickly.

In 2022, the Slovak market research and marketing consultancy Go4insight did a large-scale survey of LinkedIn users in the country. They found out that LinkedIn users use Facebook more, Instagram to the same extent, Twitter and TikTok much less.

But when asked which network do they rate most favorably, it was LinkedIn. Facebook was actually rated the least favorable of all, despite higher usage.

Another takeaway from the survey was that heavy users of the platform have a greater understanding of contributions of a “non-work” nature and welcome them as refreshments. The term used to describe this in the survey was “Facebookization of LinkedIn”.

Why are journalists, media leaders and news organizations increasingly using LinkedIn

In the recent months I wanted to understand why I see more of my colleagues – and not just in Slovakia but fellow journalists and media professionals across the board – gravitating towards LinkedIn. 

One “aha moment” came at the Forum Francophone in Paris, where I was asked to present a retention strategy for subscribers of Denník SME I have worked on since 2021 (I summed it up in this article for The Fix).

The day after the conference I met some other speakers and we had breakfast together. After we split up to catch our flights, no one handed out business cards, everyone just said “Bye, let’s connect on LinkedIn” (and we did).

When I used to visit international conferences before the Covid-19 pandemic, that line was more or less the same, but the platform mentioned used to be Twitter because most people working in media and journalism spent most of their days there. Something has changed.

I host a weekly technology podcast and listen to many tech and media podcasts, read Substacks of the same topics, and a lowered Twitter usage could have been felt across the board. 

Sure, that’s all subjective and I don’t have hard data to back this up. Still, I don’t remember in recent memory that so many high-profile journalists who claimed to be addicted to Twitter engaged less on the platform or altogether stopped. 

Vox has published a somewhat different take diving deeper into why journalists aren’t leaving the platform en masse and it came down to two things: the beats they are covering with Twitter being still the most useful network for that and Twitter still being an efficient news-gathering source.

I was surprised LinkedIn wasn’t mentioned in the article even once, but niche alternatives with a much smaller user base like Mastodon and Post got a shoutout.

Since I wrote an opinion piece for The Fix after Twitter suspended some journalists covering Elon Musk, I have been less active on Twitter and increased my engagement on LinkedIn.

The first reason why LinkedIn was an obvious choice was the similar size to Twitter and the similar logic of an infinity feed which mixes text, images and videos (and PDFs, which it turns into horizontal slides).

I was never too active on LinkedIn but maintained a weekly habit of adding one or two posts to the platform which to my surprise was enough to grow a sizable audience.

Another reason was that I have seen some of the journalists I have been following on Twitter sharing their LinkedIn profiles and saying they will be moving more of their social media time over there.

And lastly, I found the platform to bring me more useful information than I initially thought, albeit still feeding me enough “LinkedIn feel-good nonsense” to make me doubt its usefulness compared to Twitter.

At the moment, I can tell I haven’t found LinkedIn to be a definitive alternative to Twitter, yet for the time being, it will remain my number one social media choice.

One more informative alternative to Twitter I have seen some journalists mention was the second coming of RSS readers, with Readwise Readerbeing the frontrunner.

Still in beta, it seems to offer a lot of features including highlights and summaries of not only articles but also YouTube videos thanks to the GPT-3 integration.

To sum up, LinkedIn doesn’t seem to become a general-purpose social media platform like Facebook or Twitter and despite the chance Twitter’s botched change in ownership has given it, its leaders remain focused on “connecting the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful”.

David Tvrdon

This piece was originally published in The Fix and is re-published with permission.



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Mike Lindell Says Jimmy Kimmel Wants to Put Him in a Big Claw Machine

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Mike Lindell Says Jimmy Kimmel Wants to Put Him in a Big Claw Machine
  • Mike Lindell says Jimmy Kimmel is requesting to interview him on his show. 
  • But Kimmel had one request, Lindell said: The pillow CEO has to sit inside a giant claw machine.
  • Lindell said this is because he is unvaccinated. 

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell says late-night show host Jimmy Kimmel had one request of him: The pillow CEO must sit inside a giant claw machine during their interview.

“A lot of you have reached out to me: ‘Mike, don’t do it, he’s going to attack you. Why did you agree to go inside a claw game?'” Lindell said during a Facebook live stream on Tuesday. Lindell is scheduled to appear on Kimmel’s talk show, “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” on Tuesday.

“Which I did, because they, you can’t go inside the studio if you’re not vaccinated. And of course, I’m not vaccinated,” Lindell added. 

“Maybe I’ll find out that that claw game was rigged, huh, the one that picks up the stuffed animals,” Lindell quipped, seemingly referencing his own baseless claims of widespread election fraud.

The pillow CEO said his appearance on Kimmel “should be very, very interesting.” He also said he was only agreeing to the interview because he thinks it will help “save our country.”

Kimmel appeared to confirm Lindell’s account, tweeting: “MyPillow Mike from a claw machine tonight!” 

 

Kimmel said on Monday that Lindell has “repeatedly” asked to be on the show, and that he’s tried to invite Lindell back many times.

Lindell’s last appearance on Kimmel’s show was in April 2021. During their nearly 20-minute conversation, Kimmel pummeled Lindell with questions about his voter fraud claims.

“A lot of people didn’t want you to come on this show. Liberals and conservatives, told me not to have you on, and they told you don’t go on the show,” Kimmel told Lindell in 2021. “But I think it’s important that we talk to each other.”

Lindell is fresh off a big loss in his race for RNC chair, where he only secured four votes.

Lindell and representatives for Kimmel did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.



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Brandi Carlile and Catherine Shepherd Full Relationship Timeline

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Brandi Carlile and Catherine Shepherd Full Relationship Timeline

Once upon a time, Brandi Carlile and Catherine Shepherd first crossed paths via the telephone while they were in different countries and kept in touch FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR before they met IRL and fell in love. ❤️ They’ve been going strong ever since and have (blessedly) not been shy about posting their adorable ‘ship on social. Prepare to laugh, cry, and see tons of endearing Facebook life update posts as we walk through their decades-long ‘ship!

2009

Truly still can’t get over how iconic the beginning of this love story was. Way back when, Catherine—who is originally from the United Kingdom—was working for former Beatles singer Paul McCartney‘s charity. During one fated day while she was reaching out to donate Beatles memorabilia to Brandi’s Fight the Fear campaign, she actually wound up speaking to the singer herself. And the rest is history! Well…kind of.

2010

The pair wound up speaking for an entire year (!!) before they finally met IRL in New York City in 2010. “It was shocking to say the least,” Brandi confessed to People over a decade later in April 2021. “Every time I talked to her over the phone, I thought I was talking to somebody who was like 65 years old. I don’t know why. I think because of her wisdom and her demeanor. Or maybe I thought she was Paul’s age or something. So we met backstage in New York, and we were both like 27.”

 

Obsessed with them. Obsessed with this pic. Obsessed with everything!

musicares person of the year tribute to joni mitchell arrivals

Frazer Harrison//Getty Images

May 16, 2012

Brandi and Catherine walked their first red carpet at the 2012 Donor Of The Day Celebration at The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. 😭❤️

2012 donor of the day celebration

Gary Gershoff//Getty Images

September 15, 2012

Only a few months after their red carpet ~debut~, the duo tied the knot in Boston during a ceremony in front of family and friends. At the time, Brandi took to Facebook to share everything that went down, including some truly wow moments you couldn’t make up if you tried.

brandi carlile and catherine shepherd

Facebook

“See I’m sure all weddings have an insane week preceding the event but me and Catherine might have won that contest,” the singer wrote on Facebook. “Bailey (the dog) had to be rushed to the vet on our wedding day, and the day before the wedding we had to put down one of our goats (RIP Tim). To top it all off our priest didn’t show up! Ha ha! (Not her fault but it’ll be one of those funny stories well be telling for years). My church friends Jason and Mandy were there and Jason performed the perfect ceremony with 15 minutes notice!” she continued.

Even with all this happening, Brandi maintained, “It was truly one of our best days, completely awkward and human and beautiful. I’m married to my best friend and nothing has ever brought me more joy than that.” Obsessed!

February 2013

“The more the merrier” was clearly the wedding theme for Brandi and Catherine, because they wound up following their Boston wedding with a ceremony in Brandi’s home state of Washington before heading to England for a civil ceremony in front of Catherine’s friends and family.

In another Facebook post, the Grammy winner mused the following alongside an image of herself and Catherine at their wedding venue: “We had our London ceremony at the famous Chelsea Old Town Hall. It was one of our best days and when the officiant asked if anyone could think of a reason we should not be married, a four-year-old guest wisely shouted NO!”

brandi carlile and catherine shepherd

Facebook

June 15, 2014

Congrats were in order for the stunning couple, who welcomed their first child, daughter Evangeline Ruth, in 2014. Brandi shared an adorbs photo of the bb with the caption, “Please allow me to introduce Evangeline Ruth Carlile, Born June 15th. Welcome to the world kid! xobc.”

The couple opened up about having IVF treatments to get pregnant, and Brandi was super honest about the process.

“I made peace with knowing that there was some pioneering involved in what we were doing, to the point where there wasn’t even a two mother template on a birth certificate yet,” she confessed to People. “There is now, but psychologically, all these things are really hard. And the high dive into parenting is a complicated leap to take anyway…I’m hoping people see through my story that there’s no right or wrong way to evolve into a parenting role in either heterosexual or same-sex relationships.”

February 15, 2016

Brandi and Catherine looked amaze during their appearance at the 58th annual Grammy Awards. The night was especially meaningful, as it also marked Brandi’s first year being nominated for Best Americana Album for The Firewatcher’s Daughter.

brandi carlile and catherine shepherd

Larry Busacca//Getty Images

January 6, 2017

The duo realized a bucket list goal after attending a farewell party at the White House for former President Barack Obama. Always a Facebook girly, Brandi took to the platform to reflect on the evening: “We had the unbelievable privilege of spending the evening at the White House with the first family and friends in what will no doubt go down in history as a legendary party! It was so diverse and beautiful, full of all walks of life and an amazing sense of strength and community.”

March 18, 2018

Brandi and Catherine welcomed baby number two, a daughter named Elijah.

On Instagram, the singer noted that the newest addition to their family was 9 pounds, making Catherine “a beast.” Truly loving the sense of humor these two have. 😂

February 10, 2019

The couple stepped out to attend the 61st Grammy Awards, where Brandi delivered a legendary performance of her song “The Joke.”

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Brandi Carlile – The Joke (LIVE at the 61st GRAMMYs)

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Oh, and she also happened to be the most-nominated female artist of the night, NBD. (But actually, Very Big Deal.)

April 6, 2021

Brandi released her memoir, Broken Horses, which topped the New York Times bestseller list shortly after its release. I mean, what can’t she do?!?!?

. ‘Broken Horses: A Memoir’

'Broken Horses: A Memoir'

. ‘Broken Horses: A Memoir’

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Credit: Amazon

June 1, 2021

Though Catherine doesn’t have an Instagram, she cheekily did a takeover on her wife’s account to celebrate her 40th birthday, and it could not be any cuter. “Happy 40th birthday to my beautiful, brilliant and fearless wife Brandi. I woke up this morning thinking about us falling in love on the eve of your 30th birthday 10 years ago in New York City. We were both tortured poets, too thin and unaware of the remarkable life that we were about to build together.”

P.S. Should you choose to read the whole post (you’re doing yourself a serious disservice if you don’t), you’re gonna wanna break out a box or two of Kleenex.

May 8, 2022

Brandi posts a sweet Mother’s Day vid to Instagram. Cue the waterworks again!

August 10, 2022

Brandi and Catherine decide to launch their monthly radio show, Somewhere Over the Radio.

A few months later, the singer posts a clip of herself and Catherine goofing off in the studio alongside the caption, “My wife Catherine took me to work with her today. I took it very seriously because I’m a professional, she on the other hand… 🤪. For those of you who’ve been living under a rock these past few months, my wife and I have a radio show! Celebrating queer brilliance in music!”

October 14, 2022

The couple beautifully sang Brandi’s song “You and Me on the Rock” for a live IMAX event.

Literally no words, just seconding *the* Mandy Moore’s comment: “Damn! Of course you both sound like magic together. So beautiful!!!!”

And that’s about it! This timeline will be updated with the next sweet installment of Brandi and Catherine’s relationship.

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Instagram’s co-founders launch Artifact, a kind of TikTok for text

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Instagram’s co-founders launch Artifact, a kind of TikTok for text

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are back.

The Instagram co-founders, who departed Facebook in 2018 amid tensions with their parent company, have formed a new venture to explore ideas for next-generation social apps. Their first product is Artifact, a personalized news feed that uses machine learning to understand your interests and will soon let you discuss those articles with friends.

Artifact — the name represents the merging of articles, facts, and artificial intelligence — is opening up its waiting list to the public today. The company plans to let users in quickly, Systrom says. You can sign up yourself here; the app is available for both Android and iOS.

The simplest way to understand Artifact is as a kind of TikTok for text, though you might also call it Google Reader reborn as a mobile app or maybe even a surprise attack on Twitter. The app opens to a feed of popular articles chosen from a curated list of publishers ranging from leading news organizations like The New York Times to small-scale blogs about niche topics. Tap on articles that interest you, and Artifact will serve you similar posts and stories in the future, just as watching videos on TikTok’s For You page tunes its algorithm over time.

“Every time we use machine learning to improve the consumer experience, things got really good really quickly.”

Users who come in from the waitlist today will see only that central ranked feed. But Artifact beta users are currently testing two more features that Systrom expects to become core pillars of the app. One is a feed showing articles posted by users that you have chosen to follow, along with their commentary on those posts. (You won’t be able to post raw text without a link, at least for now.) The second is a direct message inbox so you can discuss the posts you read privately with friends.

In one sense, Artifact can feel like a throwback. Inspired by TikTok’s success, big social platforms have spent the past few years chasing shortform video products and the ad revenue that comes with them.

Meanwhile, like a social network from the late 2000s, Artifact has its sights set firmly on text. But the founders are hopeful that a decade-plus of lessons learned, along with recent advances in artificial intelligence, will help their app break through to a bigger audience.

Systrom and Krieger first began discussing the idea for what became Artifact a couple years ago, he told me. Systrom said he was once skeptical of the ability of machine-learning systems to improve recommendations — but his experience at Instagram turned him into a true believer.

“Throughout the years, what I saw was that every time we use machine learning to improve the consumer experience, things got really good really quickly,” he said.

So why come back now? Technically, this isn’t the duo’s first project since Instagram; in 2020, they teamed up to create the website Rt.live to track the spread of covid.

But Systrom told me they didn’t want to start a new company until three things happened: One, a big new wave in consumer technology that he and Krieger could attempt to catch. Two, a way to connect that wave to social technology, which he and Krieger continue to feel invested in emotionally. And three, an idea for how their product could solve a problem — Systrom has long considered technology design from the standpoint of what jobs it can do for its customers.

The tech that enabled ChatGPT also created new possibilities for social networks

The breakthrough that enabled Artifact was the transformer, which Google invented in 2017. It offers a mechanism for systems to understand language using far fewer inputs than had previously been required.

The transformer helped machine-learning systems improve at a much faster pace, leading directly to last year’s release of ChatGPT and the attendant boom in interest around AI. (Transformers are the “T” in ChatGPT.)

It also created some new possibilities for social networks. At first, social networks showed you stuff your friends thought was interesting — the Facebook model. Then they started showing you stuff based on the people that you chose to follow, whether you were friends or not — the Twitter model.

TikTok’s innovation was to show you stuff using only algorithmic predictions, regardless of who your friends are or who you followed. It soon became the most downloaded app in the world.

Artifact represents an effort to do the same thing but for text.

“I saw that shift, and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s the future of social,’” Systrom said. “These unconnected graphs; these graphs that are learned rather than explicitly created. And what was funny to me is as I looked around, I was like, ‘Man, why isn’t this happening everywhere in social? Why is Twitter still primarily follow-based? Why is Facebook?’”

Artifact will take seriously the job of serving readers with high-quality news and information

The question is whether personalized recommendations for news articles and blog posts can drive the same viral success for Artifact that video has for TikTok. It’s not a slam dunk: in 2014, a wave of personalized news apps with names like Zite and Pulse came and went, dogged by their inability to create deep habits in users. And earlier this month, Tokyo-based SmartNews, which uses similar AI technology to personalize recommendations, laid off 40 percent of its workforce in the United States and China amid a declining user base and challenging ad market.

Like most startups at this stage, Artifact has yet to commit to a business model. Advertising would be an obvious fit, Systrom said. He’s also interested in thinking about revenue-sharing deals with publishers. If Artifact gets big, it could help readers find new publications and encourage them to subscribe to them; it may make sense for Artifact to try to take a cut.

Systrom also told me Artifact will take seriously the job of serving readers with high-quality news and information. That means an effort to include only publishers who adhere to editorial standards of quality, he told me. For now, the company won’t disclose every publisher in its system, but you can search for individual outlets within the app.

Both left- and right-leaning publishers were included; you’ll find Fox News there, for example. But Systrom isn’t shy about the fact that the company will be exercising its own judgment about who belongs and who doesn’t.

“One of the issues with technology recently has been a lot of these companies’ unwillingness to make subjective judgments in the name of quality and progress for humanity,” he says. “Right? Just make the hard decision.”

Artifact will also remove individual posts that promote falsehoods, he says. And its machine-learning systems will be primarily optimized to measure how long you spend reading about various subjects — as opposed to, say, what generates the most clicks and comments — in an effort to reward more deeply engaging material.

“We fundamentally like building.”

For now, Systrom and Krieger are funding Artifact themselves, though I imagine they will soon have investors beating a path to their doors. A team of seven people is now working on the app, including Robby Stein, a top product executive at Instagram from 2016 to 2021.

Having sold Instagram to Facebook for $715 million, Systrom and Krieger had no pressing need to get a job. So what’s driving them this time?

“We fundamentally like building,” Systrom said. “There’s no other place in the world we’d rather spend our time than writing code and building products that people enjoy. I just love it.”

Advances in AI have also captured their imaginations, he said.

“I think machine learning is undeniably the coolest thing to work on right now,” he said. “Not because it’s hip, but because when it knows you’re into a certain topic, and it totally gets you, you’re like, ‘How is it that just some numbers multiplied together did that?’ The CTO of OpenAI said that machine learning is basically many months of things not working, and then suddenly it works, and then it works scarily well. I resonate with that.”

I’ve only used Artifact for a few hours now, and many of the features that the company plans to build remain in the planning stages. As you would expect from Systrom and Krieger, the app already shows a good deal of polish. Read an article inside the app, and when you return to the feed, it will suggest more stories like it in a handsome carousel. The app automatically switches to dark mode at night. And when you post a link, you can choose whether to let everyone comment, limit comments to people you follow, or shut them off entirely.

In many ways, I think the time is ripe for this kind of product. AI really is making new things possible in consumer apps, and the collapse of Twitter under Elon Musk has created an opportunity for a team with genuine expertise in this space to take a run at text-based social networking again.

To succeed on a grand scale, I suspect Artifact will have to do more than simply show you a collection of interesting links. Even in the current depressed state of digital publishing, the web remains rich with stories of interest, as anyone who has ever glanced at the list of clickbait headlines below the Google search box these days can attest. Few people spend much time complaining that they can’t find anything good to read on the internet.

Yes, AI represents a huge part of TikTok’s success. But like Twitter before it, TikTok also succeeded because of the way it captures conversations about the core feed — more than a few tweets have gone viral noting that the comments on TikTok are often better than the videos themselves. Similarly, Twitter endures as a primary source for breaking news in large part because it’s where elites go to discuss the news in public.

That aspect of Artifact remains under construction. But if Systrom and Krieger can bring the same craftsmanship to that part of the product that they brought to Instagram, it might not be long before they have me once again forgetting my Mastodon login.

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