LinkedIn is testing a professional version of Instagram stories

Stories, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.
Stories, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.
Image: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
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Stories, the (somewhat) ephemeral short-form video format, has taken over the social web. It was first popularized by Snapchat, then copied by Instagram in 2016, brought onto Facebook in 2017, and now might become a mainstay of the professional networking site LinkedIn.

The LinkedIn version of stories is called “campus playlists,” and was created to help college-aged students share their experiences involving internships, job fairs, and classes. “We encourage these short, authentic videos to help capture everyday campus moments,” says a spokesperson for Microsoft-owned LinkedIn. The new feature is now being tested with college students across the US—and it raises new questions about how far people will be willing to go in sharing their lives with prospective employers.

All the videos from a school’s student body are compiled into a campus playlist as shown in the image below. Videos also show up in the “recent activity” section of users’ profiles. But there’s one major difference between campus playlists and similar products from Instagram and Snapchat—the LinkedIn videos are not made to automatically disappear from the profile page.

Look familiar?
Look familiar?
Image: LinkedIn

The initial premise of stories was to let users share imperfect content, without fear of it living forever on the web. But there’s a fine line between content that’s authentic and content that might harm your professional reputation. As TechCrunch notes, “’Authenticity might not necessarily paint users in the best light to recruiters, so it seems more likely that students would post polished clips promoting their achievements… if they use it at all.”

But this ignores the possibility that we very well may be watching professional-networking standards change before our eyes. Unvarnished video is feeling less and less foreign, even to hiring managers, who thanks to the likes of Snapchat and Instagram may have a slightly different sensibility now about what is, and isn’t, professional.

Of course, it’s still a gamble for people to let their hair down too much. But here’s one thing that’s certain: With Facebook launching a career development site and LinkedIn doubling down on content, the competition for professionals’ attention on social media is intensifying.