LinkedIn launched Company Profiles today, something I've been looking forward to for some time. This could not only be a great research tool for users, but I think is a sign of things to come.
We haven't seen great expressions of group identities within social networking. With this example you can see the potential of aggregating individual activity, profiles and external sources around a group identity. Hack the URL's number to discover others until the full release.
Recall that Reed's Law of Group forming says that the value of the network is the number of groups (2 to the Nth), because of all the combinatorial connection potential between members of those groups. Providing a group identity and exposing individuals for potential connection accelerates weak tie discovery and group forming.
We may get an new PR issue to explore with this. The profiles are trademarked brands that have been created not by the company, but by individuals. In part by employees, in part by past employees. Brand Managers will have to get used to the role employees have in brand definition.
Features like New Hires and Promotions and Changes bring new transparency to HR that may be as shocking to certain corporate mindsets as when Facebook introduced Mini Feeds. I've always said that while social software may get you laid, enterprise social software helps you get promoted. Now it tells the world if you or your colleague does.