Is Facebook taking out LinkedIn?

As a mid- to late-thirties professional in the high-tech field, I have been a long-time member and user of LinkedIn.  In the past, it was a super useful service for me to get my professional profile out there, connect with colleagues and friends, and so on.  I would consider myself a relatively ‘heavy user’ of this service.

I was relatively later to Facebook, joining about 2 years ago.  For the first 1-1.5 years, I dabbled on Facebook, enjoyed connecting with friends, mainly a social thing.

From basically 2007 to mid-2008, I used Facebook for fun and LinkedIn for business.  A good analogy is that Facebook was the Mac in my life; LinkedIn was the PC.

My usage over the last 6 months has been interesting is that I’ve basically stopped using LinkedIn entirely.  Any professional interaction that I need to have basically, I can do on Facebook.

One person’s experience is probably not that useful.  What’s interesting for me though is that I’m in the core segment that LinkedIn is targeting.

Given the accleration of more Facebook adoption in my age demographic, I think LinkedIn is going to face an increasing challenge.

I’ve pulled the latest web metric scores comparing FBK and LinkedIn, and it shows the juggernaut-like growth of FBK and what looks (in comparison) basically flat numbers at LinkedIn.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next 18 months, but I’d be pretty skeptical of where LinkedIn is going to be, as they are super exposed to Facebook.

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19 Comments

Filed under internet, tech, technology

19 responses to “Is Facebook taking out LinkedIn?

  1. Leslie Fine

    Jay,

    What is very interesting, at least for me personally, is to look at the names in my FBK account that are *not* in my LinkedIn, and vice versa. I suppose this difference will evaporate over time if your theory holds.

    Leslie

  2. I certainly hope that Facebook doesn’t bury LinkedIn. While I rarely use either service, I prefer LinkedIn for professional networking. In fact, I leave Facebook for purely social (friends & family) stuff, and I absolutely refuse to use it for professional reasons.

    If that means that a few years down the road, I’ll be leaving myself in the cold, so be it. I’ll dig ditches for a living rather than use Facebook with its absolutely unprofessional crowd and apps for professional purposes. LinkedIn FTW.

  3. While rarely using LinkedIn (which never really got a good user base in Germany) I still feel with both Jeremiah and Chris Charabaruk when it comes to XING and Facebook. I joined XING.com back in the old days when it was still “openBC” and considered myself a daily user. It was, and still is, a kind of “Facebook for Grownups”, without the games, the virtual gifts etc. I’d hate to see that go away.

    On the other hand, nowadays Facebook is growing rapidly, more and more the place to be linked in even here in Germany, much more so than the german language FB-clone “StudiVZ/MeinVZ”. It is Facebook I go to daily now, especially for political networking, not XING, though once upon a time I had hoped LinkedIn and XING would team up by the former buying the latter.

    LinkedIn will have to change or face the fate of RYZE or eCademy.

  4. still barely mentions the core competency of LinkedIn. Facebook has too many non-professional elements of your life displayed to make solid business connections. I was afraid when LinkedIn started putting pictures up, because I think that’ll kill real business connections out of fear of discrimination. I’m not saying it’s illegal, but people fear initiating any deal where there’s a picture involved–we’ve just been taught that for too long… Plus, facebook would have to have a company-sponsored resume app. Right now you can’t even search by multiple words, or search with quotes. And there’s fundamentally no six-degrees function. Anyway, I believe that if facebook had 100% of people, it wouldn’t affect LinkedIn too much. They’re just different animals. The evolution of facebook is either Classmates.com or MySpace, both of which are useless to me. LinkedIn has no evolution, and that’s your initial point.

  5. I agree with you completely. I use facebook and Twitter for nearly all my communications, business and personal. While I have many LinkedIn connections, I rarely use it anymore — it seems static/boring compared to more dynamic social networking utilities.

  6. Jeremiah,
    I agree with your assessment. As soon as the fear of mixing professional and personal networks subsides or Facebook comes up with a good way of filtering content or otherwise handling the issue, the game is over. In my opinion, LinkedIn made a really bad call with their application partner program. You have to apply for acceptance and there are very few applications from only large players. Anyone can get access to the Facebook API and there are tons of new applications being built. I applied to LinkedIn’s partner program via their website form (the only way the general public can request membership) a few weeks ago and never heard back from them. So, guess where we are going to build our next integration…Facebook. I would have preferred to integrate with LinkedIn because it currently more of a professional network which is a better fit for CourseMax, our application. I’m sure there are many other businesses out there that are going to make the same decision.
    -Dan Blake

    • Interesting comment Dan, thanks. When I first saw the LI app program, I thought it was somewhat cool, as it let me post a reading list etc. Seems like its done a decent job from an *end user* pov. That said, I can understand how they’ve come up short — based your feedback — in tailoring to the *developer*.

      When I used to work at MSFT, the developer audience was always something that was seen as critically important. (See http://tinyurl.com/devs1011) 🙂

  7. As a recruiting researcher this is a very interesting comment to me. I have become more dissatisfied with LI but for a different reason – the interface is not as flexible as FB or some other media. There is no feeling of immediate connection that so many others can give and I think that this is what will eventually sink it. On top of that it doesn’t treat even its paying customers very well – lots of constraints introduced this past year. That said I will have to keep it up just to play in the game until it dies…

    • Thanks for the comment. The flexibility point I agree with. As someone who’s both been a hiring manager and a job seeker, I tend to think that building a more full, well-rounded relationship with people is important. FBK gives me greater ‘flexibility’ to use your words, and I think that enables a richer, more useful conversation than LI.

      LI is like a resume book; FBK is like a live blogged interview.

  8. I also use both but find Linkedin gets too much SPAM from recruiters whereas FB is a lot more ‘private’. I know there are settings on each but I am starting to look at FB profile plus a Company page and mainly using Linkedin to divert to my FB profile.

    Interesting post BTW. Thx.

    • thanks peter. agree with you on this. i think fbk is a platform for conversations; linkedin is more a living version of a resume for people to connect who you don’t know. both probably have value, but i find the more active conversational nature of fbk more useful. we’ll see…

  9. Pingback: Six Ways to Use Facebook to Look for Job « leaving the flock

  10. gerikleeman

    peter – I’m curious what spam you are referring to from recruiters.

  11. Though I see some of your points, I’m not sure how Facebook could ever challenge LinkedIn in the professional focus. For one, not all Facebook profiles are open to the public. You have to connect with people to see what they do. Yes, not all LinkedIn profiles are public either, BUT, if an individual is connected to at least a few people, MOST people can at least see where the individual works or about their background. And, for name sourcing or lead generation, LinkedIn is much easier to use, not only via their search interface, but also via using the site: search option in search engines. I use Facebook for many things, including for professional issues, but for ease of use and options, LinkedIn still is the best.

    Justin Sivey

    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/justinsivey
    My Blog: http://search-news-views.blogspot.com/
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/justinsivey
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Justin_Sivey/744820593

    • Justin, I hear you, not sure i agree though. Once most of my professional network is on Facebook, as it is for me now, I’ve found it as or more useful as a way to keep tabs on and engage in conversations with my professional network.

      I’ll grant that LinkedIn has some benefits when job hunting or when looking to connect with someone at a certain company whom I don’t know. At the same time, I find that the benefit gap is rather small. I use Linked In less and less, and really only for very specific tasks, whereas FBK I am using far more frequently–for both personal and business use.

      Just a focus group of one though, so caveats abound.

  12. Ed Fie

    I have separation in my life that does not lend itself to Facebook. My work persona is not my leisure persona and that is not my parent persona.

    LinkedIn does work well, where my education, work accomplishments and skills are paramount and I want them to be broadcast far and wide. I want prospective employers and customers to know about my accomplishments and degrees in a way that would be insulting and rude to trumpet to my friends. Have you ever had the experience where you were forced to accept someone’s friend request even though you don’t want them to see what you put on Facebook, typically a relative or coworker. Alternately have you edited your status when you realized that someone would see that. As long as my persona is split, I want my social networking to be too.

    LinkedIn is bland and innocuous, just like I want it. Perhaps I should be fully integrated in my personality, but that is MUCH deeper issue.

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