The highly successful social media network for professionals announced in August that U.S. teens ages 14 to 18 will be allowed to create accounts and will have access to LinkedIn University Pages.
This marks a significant shift for what has long been the most buttoned-down of social media networks. Since its launch in 2003, LinkedIn has remained primarily an adults-only network that has grown to 240 million professional members.
Allowing younger users seems to make sense for LinkedIn from a business perspective – the company can lock in a whole new generation of members long before they become working professionals. LinkedIn also stands to become a force in the college recruiting and admissions game. According to LinkedIn, the new policy is “the cornerstone of our strategy to help students at every critical milestone from campus to fulfilling, successful careers.”
But does LinkedIn make sense for Junior? While LinkedIn says, “We’re trying to provide real value for prospective students,” Huffington Post contributor Kim Garst expressed some reservations. Garst questions whether 14-year-olds should be using the same LinkedIn as professionals looking to network. While she supports the idea of helping students build professional relationships, she adds, “I am just not convinced this is the right vehicle to do it.”
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