LinkedIn is preparing to add new presentation and content-sharing functionality to its social networking platform by purchasing online professional content sharing community SlideShare.

LinkedIn Slides into Presentation Hosting

SlideShare, founded in 2006, specializes in allowing users to upload and share documents, presentations and videos. According to SlideShare statistics, it had nearly 29 million unique visitors in March 2012, and has 7.4 million presentations embedded across 1.4 million unique domains. Meanwhile, LinkedIn claims 161 million members.

While LinkedIn allows members to post links to personal portfolios and websites, currently members cannot directly upload videos, PowerPoint slides or other forms of video/visual content the way they can on Facebook, Twitter or other popular social media platforms. By integrating SlideShare’s advanced content-sharing capability into its platform, LinkedIn will make its user experience more similar to that of other social networking platforms.

This acquisition is also another sign of the increasing importance of visual communication in today’s business environment, where many companies operate entirely in a virtual space and time-pressed professionals need to absorb as much information as they can, as quickly as possible.

LinkedIn Keeps Adding Functionality

Purchasing SlideShare is not LinkedIn’s first foray into adding functionality found on other social networks with a broader audience and scope. Last week, LinkedIn released an iPad app, on the heels of newly redesigned iPhone and Android apps. The iPad app is optimized to make Facebook-like status updates easier to perform than on the web version of the site, and also offers a calendar feature than can pull in Google or Exchange information on LinkedIn contacts.

Looking back a little further, in March 2011, LinkedIn introduced “LinkedIn Today,” a product which aggregates the most popular headlines shared on LinkedIn or Twitter. And in 2010, LinkedIn added a Twitter-like “Follow” feature that allows users to track a company’s promotions, job openings and other pertinent information for those seeking job or business opportunities.

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LinkedIn on a Winning Streak

Will purchasing SlideShare help LinkedIn continue its winning streak, or is this a gamble that won’t pay off? Initial indications are investors support the purchase, as CNNMomey reports LinkedIn stock value jumped 9% in early trading this morning. And according to a posting in TechCrunch that states, “The acquisition makes a lot of sense from a product point of view,” LinkedIn is continuing its pattern of making good decisions with this purchase. TechCrunch notes that the acquisition follows a recent deepening of existing LinkedIn-SlideShare integration, and that the two companies have referred to themselves as  “chocolate and peanut butter” for professionals.

PCWorld did not directly criticize the purchase, but sounded a note of caution saying, “Exactly how LinkedIn will integrate SlideShare beyond what is possible today remains to be seen.”

Judging by LinkedIn’s most recent quarterly report, adding socialnetworking functionality has contributed to some impressive results. TheWall Street Journal reports that in Q1 2012, LinkedIn made a US$ 5 million profit,more than double the US$ 2.1 million profit reported in Q1 2011. Netrevenue also doubled to more than US$ 188.5 million, while profits fromthe paid LinkedIn Premium service almost doubled to about US$ 38million. Based on these results, LinkedIn, which went public in May 2011, has raised its yearly revenue projection by $40 million, to $880-$900 million.

LinkedIn paid $US 118.75 million to get its hands on Slideshare. At some point the two will be integrated together more than is currently available you can be sure of that. Maybe it's more a question of how long Slideshare will continue to remain a separate service that we should be wondering about.