Twitter, LinkedIn team up for self-promotion free-for-all

Partnership means that status messages can be interchangeable between the two: great for all those marketers who use the two to broadcast their own brands.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy
3 min read
Corporate tools take note: You can tell Twitter exactly what you're doing, and it'll tell LinkedIn too.

Chalk one up for the cringe-worthy marketing term "personal branding": there is a new partnership between Twitter, hub for informing the world exactly what you're doing and thinking at all moments of the day, and LinkedIn, the business-networking tool on steroids. In an announcement Monday, the two companies explained that LinkedIn status messages can sync with Twitter.

"The business use case of Twitter is turning out to be very important, and more and more people are finding that the persona they create for themselves on the Web is part of their resume in many ways," Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said in a joint video with LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman that was posted to the LinkedIn blog.

So, in short, LinkedIn's "status" feature now syncs with Twitter with an optional check box--a feature that the two companies say should be rolling out over the next few days. Likewise, can set your Twitter status as your LinkedIn status by using the hash tag #li or #in, so that you can rest assured that your tweet about "watching Gossip Girl and eating cold pizza" won't immediately show up to potential clients or employers trawling your LinkedIn profile. (Full disclosure: This was my Twitter status tonight. If you believe that it renders me professionally unsound, please feel free to let me know.)

All snark aside, this is probably a very good bet for LinkedIn, which continues to grow fast and make money but which hasn't yet really jumped into the latest social-networking trend of real-time, streaming information. Inking a partnership with Twitter is much easier than launching some other kind of initiative to get members to update their statuses more often. Tweets sent to LinkedIn, presumably, could also be grouped in with LinkedIn status messages to form some kind of business-intelligence live stream. The sort of information that people want to share specifically with colleagues and professional associates could be of interest to high-end advertisers or the market research community.

Twitter, meanwhile, is going to want to stay in the limelight of the business community as it considers a long-term business model--one of the microblogging service's potential moneymakers has been launching a "dashboard" of analytics for people and companies who use it primarily for professional purposes rather than, you know, filling the world in on which beer was just discovered in the back of the fridge.

Also for Twitter, this is yet another potential source of tweets as it attempts to become the world's foremost repository of real-time information. Earlier this year, MySpace announced an official way to sync Twitter and MySpace status, and in a matter of weeks its link-shortening service had become the second most popular on Twitter (trailing Twitter's preferred Bit.ly).

Facebook, meanwhile, appears to have been more reluctant: a Twitter app on its platform has pulled tweets into status messages for some time, and an unofficial app lets members tag selective tweets with the hashtag "#fb" to cross-post them to Facebook, but the only time that Facebook has put out a big, official announcement about syncing with Twitter was when it added an easy-sync feature for "fan pages," profiles for brands and marketers.

Not surprising. Twitter is a hot name in marketing these days, and in order for Facebook to establish fan pages as an ideal spot for brands to build a presence, an easy Twitter sync is a selling point. But in the long run, it's an advantage for Facebook, which once tried to buy Twitter and was snubbed, to keep its treasure trove of what-the-world-is-thinking somewhat to itself. After all, it can get away with it: with well over 300 million active users, Facebook is significantly bigger than Twitter, and could be diluting its own product by openly sourcing status messages out to Twitter. LinkedIn, better known for its networking features than any kind of status updating, isn't running that kind of risk.

Until then: "At SFO airport at bookstore. Deciding between @gladwell and @tferriss. Need real, serious insights. Thoughts? #li."