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6.8.07

LinkedIn versus the social networks 

[Cross-posted] Fjohn got in more quickly than I did in comparing Facebook with LinkedIn. These days, I am spending more spare time on the former, but it is merely a social network. It’s to peer at friends that I haven’t seen for years. There is a voyeuristic quality to it, seeing whom is connected to whom. , to me, has always been quite focused as a , one where we make connections and look for prospective opportunities either for more work or for collaborations.
   He’s also right when he identifies the youthfulness of people on Facebook—and Bebo, and MySpace, and the like. even has a group called Unlike 99·99 Per Cent of the Facebook Population, I Was Born in the 1970s. There, 1970s’ babies talk about how young people do not know how to use rotary dial phones or remember The ‘A’ Team the first time around. Even that is interesting for a while, with special-interest groups for those who want to waste even more time. I should know: I even have one for Lucire.
   Bebo seems to have started in a big way among my Māori and Pacific Island friends before any other race. seems to have attracted because the word MySpace is just part of the vernacular. As you go through the lists there, you find some very provocative poses from men and women. I even found a self-admitted porn star on there today—not that I was looking. (She was a friend of a friend, OK?)
   But these networks ultimately come down to a first simple question: do they serve you? If you find they waste your time and you become unproductive, then they are probably not for you. In fact, you’re serving them. Which is what they want you to do.
   I decided quite early on that MySpace did not serve me. I might have 60-odd friends on it but being a publisher for part of my week, there was something just not right about being on a Murdoch Press site. I have resisted putting any of my titles on there. Facebook serves me a little more, since it encourages work networks, and I can put some of my Facebooked staff on to them. But neither is geared to making the sort of connections that LinkedIn is. In fact, one recent connection told me that she saw LinkedIn as being for work, Facebook for play.
   While Facebook does have work networks, I just don’t see it as that pure for purposes. Those of us who go to LinkedIn usually have some professional goal in mind. And that must, in some way, bring us to the second question: does the network fit in with how you want to be seen?
   Whether we like it or not, we are partly judged by the company we keep. MySpace links us to porn stars. Facebook links us to people born after 1980 looking for friendly networking. LinkedIn is positioned in a way that makes us seem more professional, more focused. At the end of the day, the world is big enough for all of them, but you need to consider which will benefit where you’re heading.
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Comments:
Great post. I have been getting Facebook requests at a furious pace these days and I am trying to figure out whether to go whole hog on that or not. Been on LinkedIn forever though and like it.  
CLB, sometimes I think I spend too much time on Facebook. If it’s something you think you can use to your advantage, rather than let it overtake your day (as blogging did for me at one point), then I do recommend it. It is handier for finding old school friends, for instance.  
I'm on LinkedIn and the Kiwi Old Friends and have decided Facebook is a social network too far...

Don't like it's no option, log in or see nothing, closed nature.  
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Entries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
   With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.


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