I don’t often write non-agile entries on this blog. Nevertheless, I thought this would be an appropriate change. A couple days ago I invited all 454 of my LinkedIn contacts to re-connect with me on FaceBook. I’m going to stop using LinkedIn after over two years of building up my network there. Here are my reasons:
Many more people are on FaceBook
For a networking site of any kind, this is an obvious and substantial advantage! Many people I know are already on FaceBook. Probably, many people with whom I have professional relationships are on it. It’s extremely popular, and there are some people who are actually adverse to popular things, but FaceBook is popular for a reason: it’s good as a social networking site.
FaceBook has more flexible settings for relationships
LinkedIn is great for purely professional relationships that have exactly one type. FaceBook allows you to specify multiple types of relationship between your friends/acquaintances and yourself. For example, you can specify that you worked together, that you met in a Bar in 1998, and that you are now related by marriage.
It has an open API
This is a bit more geeky, but this allows the feature set to expand quickly as new apps are developed… including ones that allow FaceBook users to work with their LinkedIn profiles and contacts. Of course, there are many other apps including, unfortunately, some really dumb games. The trick here, is to just decline/ignore the things that you aren’t interested in.
It has excellent on-site discussion systems
FaceBook has groups for common interests, notes you can use for blogging, public messaging on peoples “walls”, private messaging (like InMail except free), multimedia including urls, audio, video, images and drawings.
De-emphasis on # of Contacts, Emphasis on Communication
LinkedIn feels too much like an individual popularity contest: get lots of contacts and you are a better person. I know that this is my own perception and it certainly says something about me! But I know that quite a few other people also feel this way too. This is the wrong reason to be using a networking site. Basically, if you really care about networking, as opposed to collecting large numbers of contacts, FaceBook is just better. All the different discussion systems make it so that almost any conceivable type of discussion can take place…. and…
Birthday Reminders, Photo Sharing, etc.
These are things that work for personal as well as professional networking. Just the simple little thing that I don’t have to worry about remembering birthdays is great for networking. Sharing photos is also really important. It’s good for your professional contacts to be able to learn about your family, and for you to learn about the families of your professional contacts.
This is not to say that FaceBook is perfect. There are concerns about privacy, there is a growing level of noise. It remains to be seen if FaceBook will continue to improve or if it will somehow fall apart in the end.
As much as possible, I would prefer to have one spot take care of all my networking needs. So really, the bottom line has become: I no longer even remember to invite people to LinkedIn, and I never visit it anymore now that I have used FaceBook for several months. I probably won’t ever remove my LinkedIn profile, but I sure won’t be maintaining it like I maintain my FaceBook profile.
The more I use FaceBook, the more certain I am that it will “win”. I believe FaceBook is “most likely to last” of all the social networking sites I have tried. I often compare it to Google: Google succeeds because it is incredibly good at connecting us with the right information at the right time. FaceBook succeeds because it is incredibly good at connecting us with the right people at the right time. LinkedIn just doesn’t compare.
If you are connected with me in LinkedIn, or even if you would just like to connect with me for the first time, please use FaceBook. You can find me by name there.
Thanks, Mishkin Berteig.