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Thursday, August 16, 2007

LinkedIn vs. Facebook == Vertical vs. Horizontal

There has been a lot of commotion about the newly released Facebook APIs and why it will be replacing linkedin (just google and you would notice many prominent bloggers etc. talk about it).

So of course, I tried it. I use Linkedin a lot.

Recently, I read a specific post by Jeff Pulver saying he is abandoning LinkedIn to go with Facebook.

Naturally, the decision to switch is subjective, but as far as my personal opinion goes, I don't see them as overlapping. Here are a few reasons why:

(Note: all of this is related to using Facebook as a 'BUSINESS networking tool')

  1. Horizontal vs. Vertical: LinkedIn is a 'vertical' tool. It is meant for networking of business professionals for buisness needs. Facebook seems to be a 'horizontal' tool - it allows business networking as well as networking for non-business needs, like say, going for movies, planning a party and what-not.

  2. East is East and West is West: My business life and profile is different from my personal life and profile. I'd love for my buddy to see my mood as 'What the heck is wrong with the world today', but don't see any reason why the same mood needs to be 'exported' to my connected business colleagues

  3. Credibility of network: It seems everyone joins Facebook. Be it a college dude, a stay at home mom or a seasoned professional. By nature, due to the marketing of LinkedIn, it seems to me that mostly business professionals join. Now ask yourselves this "How many invites do you actually reject ?" If the answer is none or close to none, well, then if you want to use Facebook for business referrals, why would you go for a horizontal tool ?

  4. Lack of features a good thing: I am a strong believer that specific relevant features are better than a potpourri of irrelevant features mixed with relevant ones. LinkedIn offers targetted, easy to understand business networking features, such as their Q&A, In Mail, Reccomendation system etc. Facebook, on the other hand has hundreds (thousands?) of plugin applications made by developers, and honestly, I have no idea how one will react till I actually use it. Again, honestly, for business networking you need simplicity and clarity of representation

  5. Clean and relevant interface: Finally, I find the facebook layout to be terribly confusing and dosed with over-information. For example, from a business networking perspective, do I really care to see "Mr. Foo Foo is currently at work" or "Mr. Foo Shoo just added the OhIluvIt application" ?

So net-net, I just don't get why people think facebook will replace LinkedIn as a 'BUSINESS' networking tool. As a 'social' networking tool, sure, I get it.

FaceBook = Linked In (parts) + orkut (parts) + whole bunch of customizable apps

As facebook's website says "Facebook is a SOCIAL utility that connects you with people around you"

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