Conan O'Brien aims to conquer LinkedIn

Tuesday, 1 Oct 2013 | 11:09 AM ET
Richard Branson is being challenged by Conan O'Brien for top spot on Linkedin connections.
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Richard Branson is being challenged by Conan O'Brien for top spot on Linkedin connections.

Richard Branson, someone would like to compete with you on LinkedIn.

Late night television host Conan O'Brien has joined professional social network LinkedIn in hopes of becoming the site's most followed user, a ranking that currently belongs to Branson, the British billionaire.

Recently called into the offices of his digital staff, O'Brien told his TV audience on Thursday that his team gave him a rundown of his seemingly strong social media presence. While the red-headed comedian is currently mastering Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and even Google with a combined 16 million followers and subscribers, he was told that he has not completed his social media empire since he lacks a LinkedIn account.

"Ladies and gentleman, I have zero followers on LinkedIn," O'Brien said. "Zero, ... and that's about to change."

The only problem?

"I don't know what LinkedIn is," O'Brien explained.

That didn't stop him from creating a profile, though.

O'Brien has joined the digital business directory as the "CEO of Conan." His past gigs include "Temporary Consultant at The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" (no endorsement from Jay Leno yet) and Lighting Designer at Applebee's International, a job he claims he held for 12 years.

He wrote "Yes" when asked to fill out the Education section.

His Skills and Expertise—just four, according to the profile—are talking, pretending to listen, blaming his father and Microsoft Excel.

So, what's Conan looking to achieve exactly?

His message to LinkedIn was simple: "I will not rest until I become the number one personality, or 'Influencer' as you call it, on the site."

That means O'Brien isn't merely looking for connections; he's looking to gain "followers" on LinkedIn, which is a feature only available to the top business minds who want to share unique insights and start thought-proving conversations. The site has to first accept O'Brien as an Influencer before he can rack up followers in an effort to surpass Branson's 2.6 million.

"In addition to making us laugh, we admire Conan's career transformation," LinkedIn spokeswoman Blair Decembrele told CNBC.com in an email. "We are currently in talks with his team to explore the possibility of Conan joining the Influencer program."

While the conversations continue, O'Brien has his clever foot on the social pedal. After three days, Conan—or a busy Team Coco member using his account—has accepted more than 45,000 requests to connect on LinkedIn. Those connections will turn into followers if and when he is accepted into the program.

So what does Sir Richard say?

"Love Conan O'Brien's quest to conquer LinkedIn," Branson posted on his profile Tuesday. "Come on in, Conan, the water's fine!"

By CNBC's Eli Langer. Follow him on Twitter at @EliLanger. Connect with him—as Conan did—on LinkedIn.

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