Linkedin launches University Pages
Today Linkedin, the business connection social network, has launched their University Pages. These pages will be open to not only alumni of schools, of which there will soon be thousands listed, but to incoming freshmen. Linkedin is encouraging aspiring college students as young as 14 years old to join the site and start researching schools and building their networks. The service will be free for both schools and users.
It's hard to remember that social networks are out to make money off the users, just like any other service based business. Linkedin is probably the most successful at this, since their target audience has little problem paying for extra services. From recruiting access (the big money maker are the recruiting tools), to job posting, the social network has a solid business plan in place and has been successful. Now with that in mind, where is the return on investment on opening up the system to kids?
With over 230 million members, adding teens to the network will only provide Linkedin with a growing customer base, as these teens will eventually have jobs and be professionals themselves. Perhaps not all of them, but enough of them to justify. Teens spend a lot of time online, and while they'll quickly find that Linkedin is not the network for sexting and other teen focused activities, it does have its benefits for those looking to get a leg up before even starting college or their careers.
Users can check out notable alumni, ask questions and follow the schools activity. They can't find out where all the parties are or any other minute detail about college life. The biggest benefit for students is the ability to connect to alumni in fields of study they are interested in. For college and career minded teens, this should be a fantastic resource if used properly.
Regardless, researching schools on Linkedin, no matter the social implications of opening up the network to high school students, is still better than relying on a top ten party school list to choose your college. Kids, it's not about the alcohol and parties, it's about the education. Of course, you may have to learn that lesson the hard way. In between frat parties and antiquated hazings, be glad you were able to choose your school and build your network so you have something to start building your career when the hangover wears off.