Cantillon: LinkedIn targets forward-planning teens
Hallowed halls of LinkedIn will be open to children as young as 13
LinkedIn may be the preserve of professionals seeking to make useful business contacts, but that may be all about to change. The company announced today that it was launching a new product aimed at third-level institutions – University Pages – that would allow colleges to pass on information to students, connect with potential students and keep in touch with alumni.
There is just one issue with that: LinkedIn’s current user agreement requires users to be 18 years or older, an age many younger students researching colleges are likely to fall below.
And so comes another significant change to the site: the company’s director of policy, Eric Heath, revealed LinkedIn is opening its doors to teenagers.
From September 12th, the hallowed halls of LinkedIn will be open to children as young as 13 in some countries. That age will vary according to what LinkedIn described as local regulations: in the US, you will have to be 14 before you can join up, along with Canada, Spain, Germany, Australia and South Korea. In the Netherlands, the minimum age is 16 years, with Chinese teenagers kept out until they turn 18.
It’s a change of tack for LinkedIn, which may have had a slightly more staid air than other social networks up until now. But the new age policy doesn’t mean that LinkedIn will become a Facebook clone, full of vaguebooking and selfies.
No: LinkedIn is targeting the kind of teenager who is already thinking about their future career and college plans. The kind who want to make contacts and build up networks for the day that they are ready to embark on a career.
From the user point of view, University Pages will allow students to get a better idea of the colleges they are planning to attend, beyond the websites and brochures. They can see where alumni of a college are working now, and in what area. They can plot their career strategy and start putting it into practice, making the necessary connections as they go.
LinkedIn’s adaptation to the current climate makes sense. The site has been exploring new avenues in recent months as it tries to keep members checking in on the site on a regular basis. The recruitment element of the business is still front and centre, but LinkedIn has been adding things like sponsored posts, news feeds from friends and now university profiles.
The new policies open the site up to a new generation of job seekers.
An injection of fresh blood in its user base may be just what the company needs.