Yesterday LinkedIn announced a feature just launched on the social network, ‘University Pages’ – essentially data hubs relating to universities and their alumni, from all over the world.

So far, the new feature has been released to a seed number of universities including University of Oxford and University of Cambridge in the UK, and a range of institutions in the USA, including University of Illinois and University of Michigan. It will be rolled out to thousands more colleges and universities over the coming weeks.

LinkedIn cite a range of services and benefits offered by the Pages, particularly emphasising the opportunities that they will offer to prospective students looking to make their college selection and map out their future career choices. As a result, LinkedIn are extending platform access to high school students, although the minimum age requirement will vary from country to country.

LinkedIn’s Director of Product Management, Christina Allen, outlines five key uses of the new Pages, as follows:

  • Join the conversation
  • Explore universities worldwide
  • Check out notable alumni
  • Expand your opportunities
  • Build your network

This is indeed an exciting step for LinkedIn, as the platform continues to broaden the value it offers, catering for a new, wider audience.

What I wonder is whether the introduction of University Pages will quickly start up a competitive race among universities and colleges worldwide to establish the greatest Page followings and to roll out the most active social media content streams. If you take a quick look at the Facebook pages of University of Oxford and University of Cambridge for example, it is clear that social media is already an investment area for many educational institutions (although I was surprised to see that Cambridge has less than half the number of Fans as Oxford’s Facebook page – I need to dig further to find out why this might be).

So to flip the announcement on its head – it seems to me that this new feature will not only prove to be a fantastic resource for prospective students but will also be another innovative marketing mechanic for the universities and colleges to capitalise on.

I wait with anticipation the roll out of The University of Bristol’s page – I’m very intrigued to discover what my fellow modern languages students are up to now…

What do you think of the roll-out of this new feature by LinkedIn? Please share your thoughts with me below.

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