LinkedIn Has a Pitch for Teens: Create a Profile You Actually Want to Show Colleges | Smart News | Smithsonian

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LinkedIn Has a Pitch for Teens: Create a Profile You Actually Want to Show Colleges

LinkedIn's grand scheme is to modernize the college application process, but first it has to convince teens to sign up for an account

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“Facebook is so 2011″—according, at least, to one 14-year-old.

Indeed, it is hard to keep up with the coolest new social media tools trending among younger crowds these days. That 14-year-old, the Times elaborates, is very much involved with social media:

As I type these lines, my daughter, Harriet, who is 14, is on her iPhone skipping among no fewer than eight social media sites: Flickr, Tumblr,Kik, Snapchat, Instagram, Ask.fm, Twitter and Vine. Rarely Facebook.

In an effort to keep up with these changing times (and, one imagines, to snag some of those bored young souls straying from Facebook), LinkedIn, the popular social network for professionals, plans to lower its age of entry from 18—when many people enter the adult world, via the working force—to just 14. (Can kids even get a job at a car wash at that age?)

Time explains LinkedIn’s thinking:

Kids are spending more time carefully pruning their Facebook profiles in preparation for the college-admissions game, and they’re adopting a wider variety of social-media platforms to serve more specific functions.

To give teens a reason to join, LinkedIn created University pages, which are the college equivalents of company and business profiles.

Colleges can present splashy landing pages that feature some of the info you’d expect to find on a school’s official website, including notable alumni and financial-aid information. The LinkedIn pages stand out from traditional college marketing by making use of LinkedIn’s vast trove of data on its 238 million members.

LinkedIn’s grand scheme here is to modernize the college search, Time reports. The company imagines that, instead of sorting through hapless internet searches and paper mail brochures, high school students could use a searchable database of higher education options, in which they can filter for factors like location, curriculum or sports.

Colleges, on their side, will be able to directly interact with prospective students. Of course, this plan depends on teens embracing their parents’ favorite social media platform—a phenomenon yet to be seen, or even imagined, outside of a corporate boardroom. If Facebook is so 2011, where does that leave LinkedIn?

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