Is LinkedIn Coming After Twitter?

So not only is LinkedIn flourishing after breaking up with Twitter, it seems to be adopting its most popular feature – the thing that makes Twitter, Twitter: following others.

No, this new option isn’t wide open for everyone. The ability to follow is available rather, but you can’t start amassing followers of your own unless you’re a “thought leader.”

So how does this threaten Twitter then? Twitter is a tough sell for some of the more buttoned up industries, like law and medicine, where it’s viewed as too casual and kitchy. LinkedIn on the other hand caters to these folks, offering a decidedly professional experience that just became that much more alluring for “thought leaders.” And whence the thought leaders go, so goes the firm’s marketing budget.

But let’s look a bit more at this new “follow” option that LinkedIn announced today:

For some time, you’ve been able to follow news by industry and sources, companies, and groups — these updates have seamlessly become part of the discussions you’re having everyday on LinkedIn with your peers. And now, you can follow other professionals on LinkedIn.

Not just any professionals, but 150 of the most influential thought leaders on LinkedIn who will be sharing unique knowledge and professional insights.

And here are the first four that pop up (Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are next when you click to see more thought leaders):

Pretty hefty list, hmm? A little too hefty. As PandoDaily points out, this move by LinkedIn could prove to be just another useless, unused blogging platform.

BUT, LinkedIn is actively looking for influencers who will post great content and be followed by business types. If they choose well, I predict this could be a big hit, with folks spending more time finding the latest news on LinkedIn . . . and less time sorting through the noise on Twitter.

 What do you think?

(Running people image from Shutterstock)

@MaryCLong Mary C. Long is Chief Ghost at Digital Media Ghost. She writes about everything online and is published widely, with a focus on privacy concerns, specifically social sabotage.