This is… well, I don’t know.
Last month, LinkedIn launched the first iteration of its new ‘Repost’ option on feed updates, which provides a simple way to help amplify a post to your LinkedIn audience.
That could be great for alerting your network to new job opportunities, industry-specific trend reports, great creators to follow, etc.
But as we noted at the time, it could also be problematic, in that it will additionally enable quick amplification of criticisms and negative comments.
And this will probably make it worse:
As you can see in this example, posted by app researcher Nima Owji (and shared by Matt Navarra), LinkedIn is now looking to take its Repost option a step further, by making it the default option, with its own icon along the lower function bar on each post.
In some ways that makes sense. Right now, your post engagement options are ‘Like’, ‘Comment’, ‘Share’ and ‘Send’, with the latter providing the option to share the post via LinkedIn message. The ‘Share’ option prompts you to either repost the update, or ‘Share with your thoughts’, i.e. create a post with this update attached.
Updating that to ‘Repost;’ then is not a big change, and it could make it easier to amplify content in the app, and to ask your followers to amplify your posts by re-sharing to maximize reach.
The change here likely suggests that more people are simply reposting content anyway, which is why LinkedIn is looking to make it the default. But still, I do have some hesitations based on past implementations of the same.
Back in 2019, the man who invented the ‘retweet’ option on Twitter, Chris Wetherell, said that he regretted the feature in retrospect, after seeing how it could be used to amplify criticisms and negative opinions.
Then Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also had reservations about the option, noting at the same time that:
“We’re definitely thinking about the incentives and ramifications of all actions, including retweet. Retweet with comment for instance might encourage more consideration before spread.”
So while other apps are looking at the problems caused by straight re-sharing, LinkedIn’s actually looking to lean into it – which seems likely motivated by the push to maximize user engagement, as opposed to considering the potential impacts of such within the app.
I mean, you would expect that any re-sharing mechanic will be used differently on LinkedIn. The professional social network is not as anonymous as Twitter, and its feed is not as fast-paced, which likely lessens the motivation to re-share and engage with the conversation.
But still, I don’t know how much value it adds, in real terms, as opposed to simply juicing engagement.
In any event, LinkedIn seems to be pushing ahead, which could have an impact on how people interact within the app.
LinkedIn actually has a different variation of the Repost icon within its Help section at present:
It’ll be interesting to see what impact the change has, and hopefully, LinkedIn will provide some insight at some stage.