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Job’s a good’un: how LinkedIn transformed itself into a gen Z-friendly social media contender | LinkedIn

If you heard that there’s a social network attracting 200 new users every minute, has its users making 9,000 new connections, and which says that the often hard-to-reach gen Zers make up a growing fraction of that new activity, you would probably think it must be Snapchat, TikTok, or some new social network that you have never heard of – but you would be wrong.

One further official company statistic would make the answer glaringly obvious: the site also handles 4,500 job adverts every minute, and claims that six people actually get a new job each minute too. With that detail, it could only be LinkedIn – the social media network many of us tend to forget exists.

LinkedIn can be accused of many things, but being cool is rarely one of them. As a social network centred on work – and owned by Microsoft, still a hugely successful tech company but seen as something of a 90s relic – it has a reputation for earnestness bordering on naff.

TikTok and Instagram dominate the cultural conversation, Facebook still has the largest user base and Twitter is the social network journalists spend far too much of their time on – leaving LinkedIn often unregarded.

The flipside of that, though, is that as we’ve had a backlash against big tech and the dangers of social media, LinkedIn has escaped the bad press almost entirely. We might worry about Mark Zuckerberg spying on us – to the point where he’s not just a household name, but the butt of jokes in comedy sketches across the world – but most of the surveillance on LinkedIn is carried out by other users, whether it be for genuine work-related reasons or for nefarious purposes, such as learning about someone you’ve matched with on a dating app.

It helps that LinkedIn doesn’t need to track your activity across its site, app and the web in the openly invasive way that Facebook does in order to monetise your activity on its network. Because it has a clear work focus, LinkedIn can make money directly from users allowing it to message strangers, and it can make still more money from recruiters, as it’s by far the most obvious tech platform on which to advertise jobs.

But that need to appeal to gen Z – a group that we are told wants a very different relationship with the world of work – is persuading LinkedIn to retool its site, pivoting towards video and other new features to attract the younger demographic. Can the work-based social network have it all? Can it keep its old users while gaining new ones and continuing to avoid the backlash that’s hit other networks?


It’s certainly the case that posts that cut through on LinkedIn are very different to what lands anywhere else – often to the point that they then go viral on other social networks for all the wrong reasons. Indeed, Reddit has an entire forum dedicated solely to LinkedIn posts.

Among the highlights are a post that opens with: “I have never quite understood the concept of 5-day work week. Why do we need an off from work we enjoy? … there seems to be no rational explanation of 5-day week.”

LinkedIn’s subisdiary LinkedIn Learning offers online work-related training.
LinkedIn’s subisdiary LinkedIn Learning offers online work-related training. Photograph: Rafael Henrique/Sopa Images/Rex/Shutterstock

Other “inspirational” content includes sharing memes of apparently random acts of kindness, such as an exam paper with a handwritten note at the end stating, “If you could, can you give my bonus points to whoever scores the lowest?” shared with the caption, “More of this, please #kindness”.

The earnestness, in one sense, is part of LinkedIn’s strength: it is a professional social network, and so doesn’t lend itself to strong opinions, trolling or abuse – people self-censor to a much greater degree on LinkedIn than other networks, making moderators’ jobs easier, but leaving people fishing for things to post (hence the banalities).

When the workforce still includes some boomers, virtually all of gen X and millennials, and now increasing number of gen Zers, recruitment and even self-promotion can require speaking several different online languages.

Having come of age during the Snapchat and TikTok era, gen Z have an affinity for video not matched by any of their peers – making it essential for even professional purposes. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky explained having to amend his site.

“We’re seeing a lot of gen Z join the network right now,” he said. “They’re much more interested in portraying themselves through video or through a much more robust profile than maybe older generations.”

LinkedIn had previously experimented with a Snapchat/Instagram-style “stories” video feature, but dropped it unceremoniously more than a year ago owing to lack of demand. Its new efforts to incorporate video are more centred on video profiles and longer-form video. If you’ve seen Legally Blonde, you may remember that Elle inexplicably applied to Harvard via video. LinkedIn video profiles are that idea made real – and often just as cringeworthy. The site even offers “topic prompts” to help people record a memorable profile video.

In the past year the platform has added a number of features geared to attracting and retaining users, none are particularly original but they attempt to imitate career and workplace content that users may be enjoying on other services. A newsletter feature was rolled out to qualifying members in November and in February it added a podcast network, which will include a show from co-founder Reid Hoffman called The Start-Up of You. In January it debuted a Clubhouse-type live audio feature and soon a new video live events platform is promised, allowing users to host conferences, “fireside chats” and the like entirely on LinkedIn. Meanwhile, tweaks are being made to accomodate changing attitudes, post-pandemic, to work-life balance. For example, to overcome the stigma often associated with career breaks, the platform now suggests a dozen ways for people to explain gaps in their CV, from “personal goal pursuit” to “full time parenting”.

Another feature designed to appeal to gen Z is the ability to block all “political” content from users’ feeds, on an opt-in basis. But by using algorithms to shield its users from content political or otherwise, LinkedIn risks embroiling itself in another set of arguments that can quickly turn toxic.

This is a political decision in itself and another example of how navigating the generational waters is a tricky task, even for an 18-year-old social network. Social media consultant Matt Navarra believes LinkedIn has done a good job of keeping off-radar for a few years and then got on with adapting its features for the post-Covid world.

“There’s been a change in the way the world operates in terms of employment,” says Navarra. “LinkedIn has had to adapt to it [but there is] a huge opportunity there. And so they’ve added lots of features to help freelancers, creators, people who work from home, and bolstering their video output [is part of that].”

There is a chance of LinkedIn becoming the first social network to be used in the same way by four different generations, perhaps giving it the most certain prospect of long-term success. That would make LinkedIn the tortoise to Facebook’s hare. Now tell me that wouldn’t make a good #inspirational LinkedIn status update.

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Culture

Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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Culture

European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending ‘Taikonauts’ To The Moon From 2030 Onwards

China Reveals Lunar Mission

The Voice Of EU | In a bold stride towards lunar exploration, the Chinese Space Agency has unveiled its ambitious plans for a moon landing set to unfold in the 2030s. While exact timelines remain uncertain, this endeavor signals a potential resurgence of the historic space race reminiscent of the 1960s rivalry between the United States and the USSR.

China’s recent strides in lunar exploration include the deployment of three devices on the moon’s surface, coupled with the successful launch of the Queqiao-2 satellite. This satellite serves as a crucial communication link, bolstering connectivity between Earth and forthcoming missions to the moon’s far side and south pole.

Unlike the secretive approach of the Soviet Union in the past, China’s strategy leans towards transparency, albeit with a hint of mystery surrounding the finer details. Recent revelations showcase the naming and models of lunar spacecraft, steeped in cultural significance. The Mengzhou, translating to “dream ship,” will ferry three astronauts to and from the moon, while the Lanyue, meaning “embrace the moon,” will descend to the lunar surface.

Drawing inspiration from both Russian and American precedents, China’s lunar endeavor presents a novel approach. Unlike its predecessors, China will employ separate launches for the manned module and lunar lander due to the absence of colossal space shuttles. This modular approach bears semblance to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, reflecting a contemporary adaptation of past achievements.

Upon reaching lunar orbit, astronauts, known as “taikonauts” in Chinese, will rendezvous with the lunar lander, reminiscent of the Apollo program’s maneuvers. However, distinct engineering choices mark China’s departure from traditional lunar landing methods.

The Chinese lunar lander, while reminiscent of the Apollo Lunar Module, introduces novel features such as a single set of engines and potential reusability and advance technology. Unlike past missions where lunar modules were discarded, China’s design hints at the possibility of refueling and reuse, opening avenues for sustained lunar exploration.

China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending 'Taikonauts' To The Moon From 2030 Onwards
A re-creation of the two Chinese spacecraft that will put ‘taikonauts’ on the moon.CSM

Despite these advancements, experts have flagged potential weaknesses, particularly regarding engine protection during landing. Nevertheless, China’s lunar aspirations remain steadfast, with plans for extensive testing and site selection underway.

Beyond planting flags and collecting rocks, China envisions establishing a permanent lunar base, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), ushering in a new era of international collaboration in space exploration.

While the Artemis agreements spearheaded by NASA have garnered global support, China’s lunar ambitions stand as a formidable contender in shaping the future of space exploration. In conclusion, China’s unveiling of its lunar ambitions not only marks a significant milestone in space exploration but also sets the stage for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of humanity’s quest for the cosmos. As nations vie for supremacy in space, collaboration and innovation emerge as the cornerstones of future lunar endeavors.


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