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Facebook surpass LinkedIn in the professional networking stakes? I don’t think so…

Published on 13 November 2012
Updated on 05 April 2024

My mother is fond of saying the newspaper will take any print. The same can be said of the virtual world. Anyone can say pretty much anything and as long as it’s said with some sort of authority, backed up by a few numbers, people will read it. Just to see…

I’m the first to confess that I’m not the most up-to-date social media head in the headshop. I know from my own experience that LinkedIn is a networking site for professional contacts (i.e. jobs, career, business) and Facebook is where the friends hang out. FB has a decidedly different feel and a lot more casual. Until today, I’d never even heard of Reachable, a social business application that leverages information from both  LinkedIn and Facebook.

In a blog post on the PandoDaily, Al Campa, CEO of Reachable, says that the figures are showing that Facebook is catching up on LinkedIn as a social network for professional contacts. My gut reaction?  Balderdash! No way. Will never happen.

It seems that I’m not a typical user. I vet my LinkedIn connections. If I’ve not met them (virtually or in person), if I don’t know them or know of them through someone I trust, if they have little or no relevance to my professional world, then I don’t link. Show me who your friends are… and all that. On Facebook though, I’m not so hard to please. I get friend requests from people who have heard me speak, or met be briefly, or know a friend of mine. And if I recognise the name, why not. I have a randomly chosen upper limit  for the number of friends I can manage and  I occasionally cull to keep close to to this ceiling. What I post is for public consumption. FB isn’t nearly as important and I can’t for the life of me imagine ever using it in the same way I do LinkedIn.

But according to Campa, I’m not a typical user.

Most users track and curate their Facebook friends much more carefully because they spend more time on Facebook, are more engaged with their friends and share more information there. Facebook users are less likely to share photos and life’s moments with complete strangers, which is why the bar for friending is typically higher on Facebook. With LinkedIn, there is little risk to connecting with a stranger since there really isn’t much interaction or sharing taking place. LinkedIn users don’t curate their connections as carefully because they rarely visit the site. The bar, and hence the quality, of connections is lower.

He goes on to predict that:

LinkedIn will continue to serve as a place where users publicly post résumés when looking for a job, but due to limited user engagement and interaction on LinkedIn, Facebook will ultimately surpass it as the go-to site for professional networking and contacts.

I just can’t imagine it.

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