It’s time to pull out your digital camera for the stretched-arm social networking picture, as LinkedIn is now including photos on its profiles. But as a site that emphasizes career networking (not just making pals), LinkedIn is encouraging users to post “professional headshots.” Of course this still raises legal issues since it is against the law to use race or age to influence hiring decisions. But Kay Luo, director of corporate communications at LinkedIn, says the company is letting employers turn off the feature to avoid this trouble. And good news for the camera shy -- there won’t be a shadowbox on users who opt out.
So did the company make the move because it is losing professional users to Facebook? When it comes down to numbers, LinkedIn’s 14 million users is no match for Facebook’s 43 million. But Luo says the site will stay career-focused, and not blur the lines between users' social and professional identities.
“We found that unless you keep a razor-like focus on being a professional site, it will digress into a social site,” she says.