LinkedIn vs. Facebook

For a while, people were saying that Facebook was going to bury LinkedIn. Then the advertising program Facebook Beacon backfired and garnered lots of negative feelings and privacy concerns.

See How To Block Facebook’s Beacon if you would like to know how to keep Beacon from tracking both Facebook members and nonmembers.

Now LinkedIn is undergoing a metamorphosis with new principle officers, a new look, and all sorts of plans to stay relevant, according to this article at Business Week.

I’m an infrequent user of LinkedIn, but I am a user. I’m not actively trying to create new contacts or find new jobs. However, LinkedIn is a dignified way to do that, for those who are interested.

I’m not on Facebook. I’m far beyond the college days and far from the target user there. I know many university students and instructors who may be reading or using my books are Facebook members. After all, Facebook is huge: anyone interested in technology can’t help but keep up with what’s happening there. To me, Facebook is a wild and wooly place where youthful folly has a way of haunting users later. LinkedIn doesn’t do that kind of damage.

I don’t think Facebook’s misfire with Beacon was needed to keep LinkedIn viable or necessary. The two sites serve two distinct audiences. There’s plenty of room for both.

2 thoughts on “LinkedIn vs. Facebook”

  1. I think the difference is that LinkedIn conceves of itself as a tool, while Facebook aspires to be a ‘place’.

    The following two statements are typical (only typical, I have heard them reversed):

    ‘I have a LinkedIn profile’.

    ‘I am on Facebook’.

    Moreover, Facebook’s ‘place’ aspirations seek to at least partially displace the web as a platform. Hence the walled garden approach, which will eventually be superseded by an API that builds on the distributed nature of the web in a non-creepy way (OpenSocial isn’t it, yet, but OpenID 2.0 is pointing in the right direction).

  2. Good points.

    Other thoughts: LinkedIn has stayed focused. Facebook keeps expanding. So Facebook has high school and college antics mixed in with people who are using Facebook as a way to build professional contacts.

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