While we have covered the social media aspects of LinkedIn in the past, the service is now being extended with third-party applications. Right now, Box.net Files and Huddle WorkSpaces enable you to use LinkedIn as an online document collaboration platform. These free tools are light versions of more full-featured products, but should serve you just fine for one-off collaboration needs.
The potential of LinkedIn for document collaboration may sound hinky to some, but there are some real benefits, including:
- Secure access via the LinkedIn social network of contacts.
- No infrastructure or administrative costs.
- Access documents anywhere via the web, as long as you are a LinkedIn member.
However, there is a flip side, in that that there are basically two types of LinkedIn users — those who log in faithfully on a regular basis, and those who log in just often enough to respond to network invites, and otherwise spend little time on the site. Online document collaboration via LinkedIn is going to work best for organizations where LinkedIn is already part of the corporate culture. In other words, frequent LinkedIn users are going to be the best adopters of these applications.
Both of these applications are accessible from your LinkedIn profile, via the “Featured Applications” section.
Collaborating With Box.net Files
LinkedIn offers Box.net Files as an application you can add to your LinkedIn Profile offering the following:
- Posting files to your LinkedIn profile.
- Sharing files with your LinkedIn contacts.
You can view and edit files via your LinkedIn profile:
Collaborating With Huddle WorkSpaces
Huddle WorkSpaces is another LinkedIn application offering online document collaboration features, allowing users to work together with unlimited connections. It includes private online workspaces with 1GB of online storage space free. While this may not seem like a lot for document storage, it should more than accommodate your ad-hoc online collaboration needs.
It also includes an online discussion forum for the exchange of information and ideas. The Huddle Workspace forum should be familiar to those who spend even a minimal amount of time in online discussion forums.
While Huddle WorkSpaces touts that there is no need for Microsoft Office (s msft) or OpenOffice.org (s sunw) because you can create and edit documents online using the app, it’s probably better not to stray from your desktop apps when creating a document you are sharing online, because you’ll only suffer for it with incompatibility issues down the road.
You can also post comments and request approvals from your browser.
Online Collaboration with LinkedIn
If you’re on a budget, you can definitely find some good online collaboration options via LinkedIn, providing your group is comfortable with using it.
Have you tried LinkedIn’s online collaboration applications? What do you use them for?