Is LinkedIn trying to become WordPress for the business-executive set?

On Tuesday LinkedIn opened a new feature that not only allows influencers to create original content for their site but also permits LinkedIn users to follow this handpicked group of big-name influencers.

This is a nice move for a couple of reasons:

  • LinkedIn has been slowly becoming a central hub for online business-content curation over the past few years, something given even more urgency when Twitter shut off the Twitter API to LinkedIn. (In retrospect that was a good thing, given how it uncluttered the LinkedIn stream.) This move takes LinkedIn beyond just a curation hub to one with original content from some of the biggest business influencers out there.
  • It also mimics one of my favorite features of Facebook (and I don’t actually have many of those), which is the influencer-subscribe feature. Facebook’s move to allow users to subscribe to influencers was a smart one, and it also meant influencers didn’t have to pull the awkward move of creating a Facebook page. This type of subscribe feature makes even more sense for LinkedIn.

It will be interesting to see how the company grows its influencer network. In fact, I have to wonder if one of the its longer-term goals is to become the push-button publishing platform for the business-influencer crowd. Today it’s Richard Branson and Mitt Romney, but in the long term there’s a real opportunity to open this up to business executives a few tiers down, particularly those who don’t have and don’t want their own web destinations.

But nearly every executive today has a LinkedIn page.

Just imagine if these execs could simply create a blog post and hit publish on LinkedIn, a web destination where they most likely already have hundreds or even thousands of connections.

I’m sure the company’s first goal is to get original content from celebrity business influencers. But the bigger goal would be to turn LinkedIn into a publishing platform for the millions of execs who use it every day.

Disclosure: Automattic, the maker of, is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, GigaOM. Om Malik, the founder of GigaOM, is also a venture partner at True.