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Digital WPC an Early Adopter of New LinkedIn Groups API

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Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference Web site is an early adopter of a new LinkedIn feature for surfacing LinkedIn Groups content on Web sites and in applications.

Microsoft announced the feature for its digitalwpc site Thursday morning at the same time that LinkedIn unveiled the new LinkedIn Groups API.

"We are glad to be the first B2B brand taking advantage of LinkedIn in a new way," wrote Jon Roskill, corporate vice president for the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group, during a WPC Twitter Chat Thursday morning. "The LinkedIn group API brings the group into the event site so after #WPC11 we can keep networking."

With the new functionality, visible here, Microsoft has created a "Social" page on the digitalwpc portal for the 2011 Worldwide Partner Conference that pulls LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and blog information into one view.

"The great thing about this API is you won't be hopping back and forth -- it's all done in the context of the hub of the WPC," said Julie Bennani, general manager of the Microsoft Partner Network, in an interview this week.

Bennani said putting the three social networking tools together is in line with Microsoft's strategy of going where its partners are. "There are 430,000 Microsoft partner organizations worldwide. It slows everything down if we try to be in the middle of all that."

According to a Microsoft survey of partners, 53 percent use LinkedIn.

Microsoft is finding that each of the three social networks represented on its WPC social page is playing an important role for partners. "Facebook is definitely looking very social -- personal, friends, contacts, et cetera," Bennani said. Partners are using that section to talk about WPC parties and get-togethers around the Los Angeles conference, which starts in a little over a week.

"Twitter is becoming an in-the-moment information platform. Partners are using LinkedIn as another place to do partner-to-partner connections," she said.

In a blog post announcing the LinkedIn Groups API Thursday, the social networking site highlighted the Microsoft implementation.

"As an example of what developers can do with the Groups API, we are excited to have Microsoft debut the first large-scale implementation of the Groups API on their Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference event website," wrote Madhu Gupta in the blog post.

According to Gupta's post, the Groups API will enable applications to get group discussions by popularity and recency, get My Group memberships and get suggested groups. The API will also allow for joining a Group; posting new discussions; establishing connections with other professionals; and commenting, liking and following discussions.

Adam Nash, vice president of product at LinkedIn, said the Groups API is part of a larger strategy, which also includes recently launched plug-ins, to make LinkedIn the "professional operating system for the Web."

"You get a very different quality of discussion when people's professional identities are tied to what they're saying," Nash said in an interview Wednesday. "When you see that the person saying this is not just some username but the CIO at Charles Schwab, that matters."

Creating the Groups API is part of LinkedIn's goal of spreading those professionally sourced, LinkedIn-enabled discussions throughout the Web, in internal corporate applications, into community tools and onto mobile apps. Do you think the LinkedIn Groups API could create new ways for you to do business or communicate with customers and partners? Let me know at sbekker@rcpmag.com or leave a comment below.

Posted by Scott Bekker on June 30, 2011 at 11:58 AM