LinkedIn vs. Facebook

I just got a message from a contact on LinkedIn informing me that they would no longer be using LinkedIn and if I wanted to “network” with them then I would have to move over to Facebook. The reasons given were that Facebook allows you to expose more “personality” and that it also allows you to integrate applications (such as Twitter). Now. I have been using LinkedIn for a while now and I have had some very good experiences with it. I have also spent a great deal of time building up my network there and taking great pains to do so in a meaningful way. I like LinkedIn. One of the reasons I like it is because it’s built for professionals. I never get asked by LinkedIn if I “hooked up” with someone or whether I met someone on a “study abroad program.”  The second reason I like LinkedIn is that it doesn’t have pictures. This encourages people to behave professionally there and not treat their profile page like a graffiti wall. Both these factors are to Facebook’s detriment, in my opinion. Why do we all suddenly feel the need to bahave like college students again? Am I the only one out there who frankly didn’t like college that much and was glad to be done with it?

On the point of openness, though, my friend definitely has a point. LinkedIn really needs APIs, including the ability to get at your data using FOAF or other open protocols. In fact, if Facebook and LinkedIn both supported FOAF, you would be able to choose which service best suited you and then build your network picking friends/colleagues from either service (or any other FOAF-based service). Imagine this: you build up your network on Bebo, then when you go to college you transfer everything over to Facebook and when you become an old codger like me you can graduate to LinkedIn. Why can’t we all just get along?

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6 Comments on “LinkedIn vs. Facebook

  1. Careful Dan – I think you might be showing your age here. Facebook was exactly set up by college students to behave like college students. Besides, “40 is the new 30”, so I heard on Nip and Tuck, and that’s young enough to behave like a student (although I’m guessing we’re both in our twenties of course, which is the new teens, hence I’m also on Faceparty, which is even more inane). Besides, I stongly suspect that many of us have multiple online personas, so there is a need to write on the wall in one and politely ask for job introductions in another.

    I think that the LinkedIn brand is trying to maintain a certain professionalism and quality of networking ethos. Opening it up with APIs might actually de-value it. Let’s face it, being open isn’t a charity, is actually a competitive advantage, albeit one that is alien to many conventional business pursuits. In this case, I’m not sure it would be an advantage.

    If I were being cynical, then the perpetuation of childishness is critical to consumerisation, which would wholly include mobile phones. Looking at some operator perspectives, we are either all youthful and adept or old and technically-useless, which is the Voda Simply category, although my mum hated the phone and got rid of it quickly.

  2. Yes, magic carpet of contacts / address book is badly needed ;)
    Take it with open standard like Yellow Pages ;))
    Ok, now back to Earth :)

  3. LinkedIn = Web 1.0
    Facebook = Web 2.0

    Business should = fun
    Facebook gives us personalities online
    You don’t need to connect with people you don’t know on Facebook.
    You don’t need to make everything public on Facebook
    I’m guessing the business network on Facebook will help it evolve – it was only for students until a year ago.

    Get with the programme dude :-)

  4. Well — Everyting’s 1.0 until it turns into 2.0. I think I will probably continue to use both for different reasons. I’m not such an absolutist as you are, Paul. :) Also it’s Facebook this year but what happens when we all decide that BeBopDorp is the next big thing — what will you do then?

  5. Fully agree with the interoperability provided by FOAF – at the end of the day, people will be less loyal to their social networking site than they are to their interests and relationships (for example, a top notch social network site could have a superb UI but if it doesn’t have a load of fellow kung fu movie, krautrock and 60’s comic fans; or my close friends, then I don’t want to know). By exposing FOAF – based APIs then the social networking sites facilitate discovery and plugins to other application providers, plus it should radically reduce the registration time for the user to a given network.

  6. A recent survey on FB showed that approximately 1/3 of those who responded has LI profiles and actively used LI. A further 45% of so had LI profiles but irregular usage. So even allowing for low response rates, the overlap appears to be significant. The value lies in knowing the differences between how those on both networks use LI and FB.

    The Fogeys Flocking to Facebook (borrowed from Yahoo news, cool alliteration, isn’t it?) in my small sample appear to be conducting themselves quite differently from those, who are not Fogeys, i.e. those for whom FB was ostensibly created.

    I, for one, do not connect with clients and business contacts on FB, and I may not invite all my FB contacts (including nephews and nieces, who forget that potential employers and now, God forbid, teachers are also on the network) to connect with me on LI. I do not behave on FB like I am 10 years younger ;-)

    So to me the value is in segmenting the contacts. The best thing FOAF would do for me would be to enforce my single, hopefully uniform identity…

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