LinkedIn boasts over 330 million users, and having a profile on the network is a prerequisite for professionals in every field. But the network's business usefulness and excellent job search functions necessarily dampens its sexiness. LinkedIn knows this, and in an effort to ditch the perception that the service is simply an online Rolodex, the company has recently shifted its focus towards becoming a news source and thought leadership platform.
For marketers and professional communicators, using LinkedIn creatively is a challenge, especially when so much time, money and attention goes towards efforts on networks people use in their personal lives (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) But that hasn't stopped people from trying. The most recent example comes from 20th Century Fox's new movie Taken 3, the latest installment in the popular Taken series which features Liam Neeson playing retired CIA field operative and ultimate badass Bryan Mills.
In the first movie, Mills delivers a famous exhortation to a group of men who have kidnapped his daughter, explaining that he has a "particular set of skills" that he will use to find and kill them. (Spoiler: He finds them and kills them.) Ahead of the release of the Taken 3, 20th Century Fox set up a contest on LinkedIn that takes advantage of the platform's endorsement feature, which allows users to vouch for each other's proficiency at certain skills. At the conclusion of the contest, which runs until December 23, "one entrant will be chosen by 20th Century Fox based on their fit with Bryan Mills and his Security International team," and Mills will endorse the winner's "particular set of skills" in a video message.
Although it's being conducted with an air of seriousness, the Taken contest is at its base a gag, which may help change the perception of LinkedIn as a boring, professionals-only network. While LinkedIn's endorsement feature is not taken very seriously (really, what good is 30 people certifying that you know how to use Microsoft Word?), the contest serves as a welcomed example of original thinking on a platform starved of personal engagement.
Follow Brian Greene on Twitter: @bw_greene