As a human resources professional, one of the things I’m constantly reminding managers about is the need to personalize communication. Especially when it comes to recognition or acknowledgements. Simply saying, “Good Job!” to everyone isn’t sufficient. I’m not saying that you have to strike the phrase “Good Job!” from your vocabulary, but we need to be more expressive.
That’s why I was excited to hear that LinkedIn introduced a new feature called LinkedIn Reactions. It expands the current “thumbs up” option in LinkedIn to include celebrate, love, insightful, and curious.
While like, celebrate, and love are probably self-explanatory, I think insightful and curious could be conversation starters. According to LinkedIn, insightful allows users to recognize a thought-provoking topic and curious can indicate a desire to learn more.
Because old habits can be hard to break, and I still find myself just “liking” things on LinkedIn, I spoke with Cissy Chen, product manager at LinkedIn, to learn more about Reactions and how to incorporate them in my interactions on the network.
Cissy, can you briefly describe for readers what LinkedIn Reactions is and the rationale behind adding more options than just the “thumbs up”.
[Chen] LinkedIn Reactions is a set of lightweight expressions that give members a more nuanced way to communicate with their network. Our research has shown that thriving communities are fostered when members feel like they belong in a supportive environment where they feel encouraged to express their thoughts and ideas.
Reactions makes it easy for members to visually express their sentiment on a topic in a way that goes beyond a ‘Like’. One of the things we regularly heard from our members is that they want more expressive ways than a ‘Like’ to respond to the variety of posts they see in their feed. At the same time, members told us that when they post on LinkedIn, they want more ways to feel heard and understand why someone liked what they said.
I’m curious how LinkedIn Reactions works. Can anyone give anyone else a “Reaction”? Or is it only between first-level connections?
[Chen] As a member, I can ‘react’ to any post (i.e. short-form, long-form, recommended posts, etc.) that currently has a social action bar, across feed, search, groups, recent activity, etc, including organic company updates and sponsored content. I can only select one reaction per post from the set of Reactions that LinkedIn shows me by holding down the Like button and sliding my finger/cursor across to the right to select the reaction.
Can you give us a few examples of how users would share a Reaction with one of their connections?
[Chen] Sure! Most LinkedIn users know how to use the ‘Like’. Here’s how you might use the other Reactions.
- ‘Celebrate’ could be used to praise an accomplishment or milestone like landing a new job or speaking at an event
- ‘Love’ would be used to express deep resonance and support, like a conversation about work life balance or the impact of mentorship
- Insightful can help you recognize a great point or interesting idea
- Curious lets you show your desire to learn more or react to a thought-provoking topic.
More examples can be found on LinkedIn’s Help Center.
For the skeptics out there who might say Reactions is a bit too casual, what would you say to them?
[Chen] We took a thoughtful approach to designing these reactions, centered around understanding which ones would be most valuable to the types of conversations members have on LinkedIn.
This process included looking at what people are already talking about to better understand what feedback they wanted to express and receive. For example, we analyzed the top 1-2 word comments being used and what types of posts people are sharing most. We also conducted global research with LinkedIn members to get feedback on the specific reactions to ensure they were universally understood and helpful.
To learn more about the product principles, research, and design journey, check out this LinkedIn article from our design team.
One last question. How do you see the new LinkedIn Reactions complementing the Endorsements and Recommendations features?
[Chen] Endorsements and Recommendations empower members to show public support, appreciation, and acknowledgement for specific people in their professional network. Endorsements and Recommendations are featured on a member’s profile and are key features in showcasing the member reputation.
Reactions also empowers members by giving them more ways to quickly and constructively communicate with one another. While Endorsements and Recommendations are fixated on a member’s profile, Reactions is leveraged in the feed and helps jumpstart meaningful conversations for people to participate in.
My thanks to Cissy for sharing her knowledge with us. If you want to stay in touch with what’s happening on LinkedIn, be sure to check out the LinkedIn blog.
LinkedIn continues to be the first name I hear when it comes to a professional online network. That means it’s in our best interest to learn about new features and give them a try. The people who are getting the most benefit are the ones leveraging everything the network has to offer.18