LinkedIn hadn’t updated its mobile app since 2011. The experience showed it. The mobile experience on LinkedIn, whether on a smart phone or tablet, was poor, at best, and a black eye for the company.

Two months ago, I blogged that LinkedIn needed to clean up its mobile experience for the legal profession. Well they have, big time. Though I certainly claim no credit for being the impetus of the changes.

Last night LinkedIn launched a new version of its app for smart phones and tablets (IOS and Android). I came away very impressed and share the enthusiasm LinkedIn’s mobile product lead, Tomer Cohen (@cohentomer), expressed in his blog post this morning entitled, “A New Mobile Experience Designed for the Everyday Professional.

  • Much better design. Complete redesign of the smart phone and tablet experience enabling easy interaction with your connections and content. It’s now easy to look up a person, whether a connection or not, and to get their background and contact information. No more clunky and choppy scrolling. The app gives us what we’ve come to expect from a Zite, Flipboard, or other media company.
  • Richer content stream front and center. LinkedIn knows that networking requires more than a name, face, and background information. Networking requires interaction in and around content shared by those we trust. What you share, what you like, and what you say in comments defines you as a professional and enables you to build relationships. You’ll now receive the most relevant and timely professional insights so you can quickly discover and engage professionals across LinkedIn. I agree with Linkedin that this means an engaging, vibrant and visual stream with tailored updates, news, original posts from Influencers and much more.
  • You may tailor your experience. The LinkedIn experience has always been tailored to who you are, your network and and your professional connections. It’s just been far from clear how to customize your experience. The new mobile app offers deeper personalization options with a brand new navigation page. Slide the main homepage screen to the right to reveal a customizable navigation page, preloaded with customized features. For example I can see just the information from my groups and the companies I follow, relevant news tailored for me, or the people I may want to connect with.
  • Further expanding on localization. With 64% of LinkedIn members now located outside of the U.S., LinkedIn is serving up features with the new app that empower you to network internationally. This is a gift for lawyers with multinational practices.

What do the LinkedIn mobile upgrades mean for lawyers?

  • Substantiality greater use of LinkedIn by you as a lawyer and the people and companies you represent. LinkedIn is much easier to use now and it’s where we are using the net – in the palm of our hands on mobile devices.
  • Increased importance in growing the size of your network on LinkedIn. The more people whose interests are similar to yours you can engage with in a professional fashion the easier it will be to nurture relationships and enhance your word of mouth reputation among those who matter.
  • Content is going to be at the heart of networking on LinkedIn. You and other professionals will share content, and because of the seamless mobile interface discussion, through comments, will ensue. I posted something last night and by this afternoon, the piece drew 6 ‘likes’ and 4 comments from people in my network. Continuing discussion and engagement ensued.
  • Rather than machines curating content, ie Zite, people you trust will curate content and share it with you – and not just their content as means of broadcasting, but share third party’s content because of a sincere interest in helping others and generating meaningful discussion.

Try out the improved LinkedIn and let me know what you think. And put that laptop or desktop away when it comes to networking on LinkedIn, the future of innovation and networking lies on mobile.

It may be a bit cheesy for me to share a LinkedIn video ad on their mobile upgrade, but it gives you a taste of LinkedIn’s excitement and commitment to mobile.