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Confirmed: LinkedIn Rolling Out 'Simpler' Homepage To All Users In Coming Weeks

linkedinJust a little update on our report from last week about LinkedIn and what appeared to be new test pages for its website: the company today has confirmed the changes and says that it will be rolling them out to all its 160 million-plus users in the next couple of weeks.

The key, as we said last week, will be simplicity: a stronger link to the site's newsfeed, LinkedIn Today, as well as an interface that will make it easier to add new people, and check on what others you already know are doing — essentially an attempt to make the site significantly more social, and with that social activity focused on what staying at LinkedIn rather than going elsewhere to continue your browsing.

Is this a move away from what LinkedIn has become for most people — a place you go when you're looking for a new job or to hire someone for a new job? Possibly, but not too far from that. "This simpler and cleaner design makes it easier to navigate the page and quickly find the updates you're looking for – whether that's a news article your boss has recently shared or it's to see who has just started a new job," writes Caroline Gaffney, LinkedIn's product manager in charge of the homepage, writes in a blog post on the changes.

As we noted last week, it's ironic that these changes are coming at a time when LinkedIn has lost one of its key partners in the social media infosphere: Twitter has cut off its API, which means no more Twitter stories into LinkedIn. This has upset some users (example: one reader who wrote to me "Just bring back the Twitter stream. LinkedIn is...fighting to remain relevant."

We heard from a source that this Twitter development wasn't the reason for the changes, which have been in play for months now. But it's still a strong case for why social media sites worth anything, LinkedIn included, need to focus on their own platforms and their own network creation as a route to growth.

A little rundown of some of the new features:

– More modern design. It may seem trivial to some, but as Steve Jobs said once very famously, design is not just about how something looks but how it works (quoted coincidentally just the other day in a story in the NY Times). And this seems to be the case here: LinkedIn's redesigned the look to be more modern and is trying to use it to get people to use the site more.

– Relevant updates. A lot of the changes seem cosmetic but there seems to be some changes under the hood, too. Gaffney notes that "the most important" network updates and articles are now appearing at the top fo the feed.

– Cleaned-up update stream. Again, more ability to scan and view updates to your feed, with some automated refreshing now in there. And taking another page from Facebook and Twitter you can now see what people in your network are talking about more easily.

Gaffney notes that this is just the first step, and indeed LinkedIn seems to be gearing up to make itself a more natural landing page — dashboard, if you will — for the professional who likes to engage in a bit of social networking. That would be in contrast to how I bet many typcial users enters the site — via Google searches on specific people
and companies. Also, that makes it a nice complement to Facebook (less worky; more friendly) and Twitter (not really so much of a homepage as a straight feed).

What Your Facebook Page Says About Your Personality

facebook-photo-600-275x171If you think you're keeping any secrets on Facebook, think again. It's not just what you post on the social networking site, but how you post it that reveals what kind of person you are.

That's the contention of researchers at the University of Missouri who have developed a new scale that judges people's personality based on how they use the popular social media site.

The scale reveals that those who like high-risk activity tend to update their status, upload photos and interact with friends frequently. While conversely, those who are more reserved tend to merely scroll through Facebook's "news feed" and don't upload photos or actively engage with their friends.

Missouri doctoral student Heather Shoenberger developed the scale after surveying people about their use of Facebook and having them take a personality test.

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Why Analytics Matter to Small Businesses

facebook-analytics-600-275x171This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

Small businesses are past the fact that they need to use social media. Customers are using social tools to communicate, shop, research and discover — most of which are rapidly becoming a mobile experience. And so, entrepreneurs are shifting how they run their business around that fact.

The question now becomes "how?" Booz and Company conducted an in-depth study with Buddy Media of social media's marketing impact, and found that most businesses were not utilizing tools and services properly.

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Social Media Is Transforming Business, Inside and Out

135156831 Social media is transitioning from a tool used by companies for a limited number of purposes, mostly involving external communication, to an integral part of the business environment, which is transforming the internal dynamics of major corporations, according to a new study by FedEx and Ketchum, titled "From Social Media to Social Business."

The study is based on quantitative surveys and telephone interviews with a total of 85 executives and communications "thought leaders." The list includes well-known social media pontificators like Jeremiah Owyang and Brian Solis, and execs from companies including IBM, Southwest Airlines, Bank of America, AT&T, Chevron, G.E., Cisco, and Time Warner Cable. On the executive side, the majority of participants were from large companies: 88% had 2,000 or more employees, and 68% had annual revenues over $2.5 billion.

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Dropbox, TigerText Announce Partnership: Users Can Send Files With Expiration Dates, Remotely Revoke Access

136501735Secure messaging service TigerText announced a partnership today with Dropbox that will allow users to send documents securely, with features like a pre-set lifespan and the ability to recall a file attachment at any time. Documents will be encrypted and cannot be downloaded, copied or forwarded.

TigerText president and Co-founder Brad Brooks tells us that the partnership has a wide range of targeted users, from "anyone who uses Dropbox" to businesses that need to send secure files. Brooks sees wide-ranging applications of the technology, from transporting confidential legal and medical files (the platform is HIPAA compliant) to facilitating group collaboration in financial services firms to delivering event tickets with an expiration date and recall ability. He says a large agency in Los Angeles approached TigerText because they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on courier services driving around scripts.

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Reserve These 5 Web Properties for Your Kids Now

1484792551. Domain Name

Purchasing a domain name is the most useful and expensive property you can reserve for your new child. He or she can turn the site into anything, that is, when the little tyke comes of age.

Like zoefox.com, the domain name I can't own because young Zoe's parents are squatting on it until August 2013.

If you want to snag an already taken domain, you can find out on who owns it by visting WhoIs. Unlike many social networks, which prohibit the sale of user names, you can purchase domain names if someone is squatting on yours.

I can't easily obtain personal domain name zoefox.com because some proactive parents of a girl named Zoe Fox, born in San Francisco on Oct. 26, 2001, have already claimed the property. However, since discovering the site, I've never noticed the other Zoe's parents make any changes to the site. Perhaps they're squatting until their daughter has some grander plan for zoefox.com. Annoying to me = awesome present to the now 11-year-old Zoe.

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