- LinkedIn partnered with video-clip search engine Tenor to let people add GIFs to their conversations on the professional platform's messaging service, according to a company blog post. Now, LinkedIn's 546 million members can search for GIFs in LinkedIn Messaging and see and send trending GIFs without leaving the app.
- The new feature is rolling out now and will be available globally in the coming weeks, as LinkedIn plans to add more ways for its users to incorporate visual communications on the platform.
- Arpit Dhariwal, LinkedIn's principal product manager, noted in the blog post the proper use of GIFs in the workplace: "Think about your company's culture, your professional relationship with the person and the industry you work in to decide if it makes sense to send a GIF."
The news points to the importance of visual shorthands like GIFs in day-to-day communication as well as LinkedIn's desire to not be shut out of an increasingly popular mobile messaging tactic. LinkedIn's addition of Tenor GIFs is part of the platform's broader effort to engage users with some of the features that other social media companies have embraced in order to advance communication capabilities and help users interact. But for most people, LinkedIn isn't a social media site for casual conversations or sharing posts. Users typically use the site to network with other professionals or hunt for their next job.
A mere 18% of LinkedIn members used the service daily in April 2016, according to a Pew study, when Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $27 billion. But in recent months, the platform has worked to ramp up its capabilities to better engage its global user base, including revamping the messaging service by adding a presence system, conversation starters and smart replies.
Messages sent on LinkedIn have grown 60% in the past year, while Tenor research found that 7 in 10 U.S. adults use visual expressions like GIFs to communicate. The addition of GIFs from Tenor, which Google bought last month, follows LinkedIn's efforts to engage users with features popularized by image-messaging app Snapchat. Last fall, LinkedIn added a feature to let attendees of professional events create videos with location-based image filters. LinkedIn found that video was shared 20x as often as any other type of content on its platform. Sharing the short, looped videos in a professional environment will require LinkedIn users to consider when they are appropriate or useful. As Dhariwal cautioned in the blog post, it's important to consider the professional context of using GIFs in messages before sending.