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LinkedIn vs. Facebook

September 6th, 2011 No comments

This WSJ article has gotten quite a bit of buzz over the past week (anyone know why “troll” is in the title?), and I’ll agree with the general sentiment that Facebook will have a big impact on hiring in the future. However, I’m not convinced by author Joe Light’s premise that LinkedIn is at large risk from Facebook in the near term. There are two reasons why:

  1. I believe LinkedIn’s research saying “users tell the company they want to keep their personal and professional networks separate.” This is the mindset of generations that have grown up keeping work and life separate, and any shift in this thinking should be slow enough for LinkedIn to react.
  2. LinkedIn has built a strong network effect. Sure, it only has 120 million users to Facebook’s 750 million, but LinkedIn’s population has tacitly signed up for career networking. Facebook’s users are there for many reasons, making it harder for career conversations to be relevant.

Facebook has shown it can be a big player and has interesting and potentially game changing plans. It has a lot of work, however, to dethrone LinkedIn for professional networking purposes.

Update: Lou Adler comes to a similar conclusion by a different route.

Categories: hiring, social media Tags: ,

How Not to Use Social Media

September 29th, 2010 7 comments

This post is probably going to definitively out me as an HR person (if I haven’t done that already).  I’m already a little bit of a skeptic when it comes to hiring and social media, but the existence of this company frankly just makes me uncomfortable.

Social Intelligence essentially touts itself as a way for HR folks to screen information about candidates available on the public internet, while somehow preventing us from learning protected class information.  The ERE article on Social Intelligence is studiously neutral, but let’s just say I’m less than convinced that “researching a job applicant’s online activity inevitably reveals a great deal of insight about a candidate.”  You know, like the fact that they follow this guy on Twitter…

The Social Intelligence website actually provides little information about how the hiring product actually works.  But looking at ERE’s screencap of the tool highlights the problem I have with using social media this way.  How do you connect information someone posts about violence, drugs, gangs, or poor judgment with actual concerns about these things? Let’s say I post Wu Tang Clan lyrics(very NSFW) on my Facebook page.  It would certainly look like I do lots of drugs, but it turns out I don’t. Where’s the line between what I consume, and what I do?

Social Intelligence’s monitoring tool is maybe even worse.  Do we really want to reinforce an image of HR as a nosy, Big Brother type of function?  And again, there’s no distinction between what people choose to do on their own and behalf of their employer.

Ultimately, this feels like a solution finding a problem to solve by scanning the headlines.