A former LinkedIn employee revealed on TechCrunch today that the online professional network plans to unleash a social news program, arguing it could outdo Twitter and Facebook. "I think LinkedIn could become the Wall Street Journal of social news," wrote Mrinal Desai, admiting that his connection to the company might make him a bit biased. Desai explains how news can be a useful tool for networking, the objective of LinkedIn, and argues that there is no news aggregator out there that tailors your newsfeed based on your interests and industry. "It has the potential to become the ultimate business news filter," Desai writes, arguing that the personal and business focuses are what give LinkedIn a leg up on Twitter and Facebook.

Does LinkedIn actually have a shot edging out the current social media titans for the role of ubiquitus social news source? It certainly sounds improbable to the casual observer, given Facebook's current prominence. Silicon Alley Insider's Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry thinks this this new social news program would be a smart move for LinkedIn, noting that the company's "main problem is that, as it says itself in its S-1 filing, the vast majority of LinkedIn members don't actually use it." He also thinks the news project would help with advertising, currently "the worst-performing of LinkedIn's business units." Gobry does think people would be happy to have "a smart aggregator of business news," that is, if LinkedIn can do it right. "The right personalized news aggregator has been a holy grail of the web for many, many years and most startups who have tried to pull it off have failed."

Simon Owens
at Bloggasm a little more skeptical, questioning "how many aggregators the market will sustain." He offers some user feedback: "I already personally follow people within my business network on Twitter and Facebook, and as one of those casual users of Linkedin, my network there is much weaker."