This Ain't Your Grandma's Follow Feature
It's not exactly like Twitter's original. Rather than simply tracking users, LinkedIn's "Company Follow" enables users to keep tabs on job openings, promotions, and other activities specific to companies.
Users simply need to click the “follow” button on company pages, or any LinkedIn member’s profile. Users can also view all of the companies they're connected to, as well as receive recommendations (don't worry, you can tweak how often you get these).
"You can be in the loop on new developments, potential business opportunities or even job opportunities by following companies of interest to you," said LinkedIn Product Development Manager Ryan Roslansky in LinkedIn's official blog post about the feature.
Furthermore, the new feature can reportedly deliver insights to the 65 million+ LinkedIn users such as a competitor's pace of hiring, or the start of a whole new industry. See this Netflix example:
LinkedIn's Company Follow is yet another push toward increasing social features, though it's much different than their release last fall, which enabled users to sync their status updates with Twitter. Perhaps a locked-in approach this time around will do the platform more good.
Meanwhile, Facebook is altering its own follow features to be more marketing-driven. As announced it March of this year and again at the f8 Developer Conference, the company plans to enable users to "like" the entire internet. Tossing the whole "Become a Fan of" aside, liking companies now means you'll get updates from them, much like LinkedIn's Company Follow.
It looks like LinkedIn, though with somewhere around 450 million fewer users than Facebook, is still doing well with its audience. But who knows for how long? Facebook's known to be a creeper, and is no doubt going to attract a lot more enterprise-y attention thanks to Microsoft's adoption of it via Docs.com.
In any event, LinkedIn's integration of a few of our favorite social features will certainly secure them a bit more time in the spotlight.