WSJ Breaking up with LinkedIn?

WSJshareIn a decidedly “it’s not me, it’s you” move, The Wall Street Journal removes its LinkedIn sharing option on its articles. What’s behind the breakup?

Just as Prevention magazine announced its breakup with advertisers, the Wall Street Journal announced a sort of breakup with LinkedIn, and the move has other B2B publications wondering if their amorous relationship with the business-focused social media platform is worth continuing.

Business publishers haven’t enjoyed the best relationship with LinkedIn, viewing the social media platform as a quasi-competitor. Publishers want the referral links from LinkedIn to their publications and therefore maintain a cordial relationship (at least superficially). However, they bemoan the share-for-all environment in which their content gets propagated.

Digiday notes that Robert Thomson, the CEO of News Corp, WSJ’s parent organization, strongly criticized LinkedIn, labeling the platform as simply a “spammer.”

“They now see themselves as a news distributor, and news organizations who cozy up too closely to them are guilty of techno trendiness,” he said.

Harsh words, but beneath the snark is there a reasonable concern for publishers?

“We see a lot of shares but not a lot of action in terms of page views,” writes Denis Wilson in Publishing Executive. “Which leads me to venture to guess that LinkedIn users are sharing a lot of content but not actually reading it (perhaps to appear engaged in the industry dialogue and maintain activity so as to appear in connections’ feeds).”

On LinkedIn, content acts as currency. Meanwhile, in a culture where we are all media brands, publishing platforms like LinkedIn can be a huge boon for smaller brands like ours. We’ve had great engagement on LinkedIn, ultimately being named one of the Top Voices in Media & Publishing in 2015.

Platforms like LinkedIn have flung the doors wide open for would-be publishers with something to say. Maybe instead of breaking up with LI, WSJ has to make some room at their big kid table for other voices.