Can Facebook replace Linkedin? Yes or No?

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Can Facebook replace LinkedIn? Yes or No? - A few days ago I posted this very question to a LinkedIn group and got an amazing response so a friend recommended that I offer some sort of closer or an interpretation of all the many opinions.  I thank those who participated.

Let's just say I may have touched onto something that is on the minds of many because many replied, and despite my specific instructions to answer ‘yes or no', almost everyone had something more to say.  And it may have even touched a nerve or two with us, the true victims of this ever-changing medium of networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook who are really getting fed up with the surprise technical "enhancements" just as we get used to how one system works.

There were many points of view in the replies I recieved but the overwhelming statement, and yes I heard very loudly and very clearly, was LinkedIn is for business and Facebook is for fun.

Understood, but getting to the ‘why' was tougher.  Is it because we don't want our fiends to see what kiss-ups we are at work or we don't want our colleagues to see what crazy people we are at home?  Then why? 

One of the repliers said, "I wouldn't like my business contacts seeing my personal contacts".  Interesting.  Makes me want to go check out her personal contacts.

Another said she doesn't want her colleagues to see her "personal postings" and see which "silly quiz" she took this week.

Another networker has this cool little system of moving business connections off and away from Facebook and adding them to LinkedIn.

Yet another may have put her finger on it, that "People really appreciated having a place to relax and a place to work kept separately".

One more person really nails it with "if you are looking for a job... you probably do not want your FB correspondences, jokes or musings... to be on display to a prospective employee or employer".  I'd bring that even further to say that I don't want my friends to know when I'm looking for a job, especially my mom anyway.

That makes some sense, and there were many, many more good arguments.  And it really does validate the reasoning for maintaining two different user accounts on two different networking sites, even though I find that dumb.  To me that's like owning HD and Blue Ray.  Oh wait, unless one of the sites can figure out a way to manage both friends and colleagues into one system.  I'm making a prediction and remember that you read it here first: You'll see Facebook come up with more intricate settings- and ways to hide some of your friends from other friends.  Maybe that's why you can now ‘group' your friends on Facebook.  Are they thinking ahead?  Yeah, they've just been dropping these changes on us slowly and we haven't seen anything yet.

Changes and more changes to come.  Why do you suppose they're messing with us so?  Why does LinkedIn now offer the "what are you doing now" thing, and Facebook lets you create professional groups?  Well, obviously there's a war going on and as another replier to my article says, both are "becoming more and more alike". 

He says success will come if "attention is paid to the core audience".  And is LinkedIn doing that or are they too focused on "the war"?  Sigh.

That may be a war LinkedIn shouldn't fight.  Yet another comment was to say that Facebook "absolutely" has an advantage, and that could be the shocking answer to my big question about who would win...  But then again, another networking professional who wrote to me (who probably owns an HD and Blue Ray) says, "I like tools that have a specific purpose. Not every tool needs to be a Swiss Army knife".  Darn, he's right too.

If this were up for a vote from all the people I heard from, the answer would be ‘no way' that Facebook could replace LinkedIn, but don't be too surprised about anything- and that's the answer.

Please feel free to reply here to offer your opinion.

Rob Richards is a Microsoft Certified Trainer and an acclaimed technical educator and writer in Washington D.C. Rob has instructed professionals in office automation software products since 1991 and has led Change Management/Training initiatives at many government institutions such as the Supreme Court of the United States and at the Executive Office of the President (The White House) where he works currently. For more information please visit www.robrichards.net

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