LinkedIn’s Influencer Program Lets You Follow Thought Leaders Without Sending a Request

For years, LinkedIn has been an exclusive club where only people who are colleagues in real life (or who are open to requests from strangers) can connect in a professional setting.

Today, LinkedIn has announced a new program that gives users access to news and updates from 150 top professionals, including LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, President Barack Obama, and Governor Mitt Romney, to name a few.

Explained LinkedIn’s Ryan Roslansky, “For some time, you’ve been able to follow news by industry and sources, companies, and groups — these updates have seamlessly become part of the discussions you’re having everyday on LinkedIn with your peers. And now, you can follow other professionals on LinkedIn.”

These influencers will post status updates, videos, photos, and Slideshare presentations for their followers’ reading pleasure. (Read what Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has to say in this picture above.)

LinkedIn’s Influencer program is not quite as democratic as Google+ Circles or Twitter, where anyone can build a following based on the quality of their posts, but it does offer a way for people who probably get a lot of connection requests — and who have things to share — to keep in touch with many people at once.

Are you an influential person who wants to build a following on LinkedIn? Fill out the application here. The company plans to add more influencers to the list in the coming months.

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