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LinkedIn vs. Facebook

September 6th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to 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.

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