Jeff Pulver has signaled that he’s shifting his social networking efforts from LinkedIN to Facebook. I’ve been doing a little exploring between both platforms as well. I love a lot of what facebook gets done, and I advocate for it often. But the more I spend time there, the more I find things that bug me (Dan York points out sorting issues here.) To that end, here are a few things that LinkedIN does better than Facebook.
Sorting Contacts– I found myself needing to find someone in NYC to offer a couch for a friend. In Facebook, I searched around the Friends tab and couldn’t find a way to sort. Turns out, the way to sort friends is you go out to the main page, to the search bar, click Advanced Search, and then search your network and friends by the criteria you want.
In LinkedIN, you go to Contacts, click Advanced Search, and click sort by location. Done.
Passing Through Mail– Facebook sends my email account a message that says, “Rod Begbie has sent you a message.” And then I have to go log into Facebook to read it. LinkedIN sends me the whole thing, and then I can go log in and respond later. And Facebook doesn’t have FORWARD. I can’t send mail elsewhere. It’s not that I really want to use the in-system mail platform. It’s a little redundant. But if you’re going to give it to me, make it full-featured.
In LinkedIN, you get the straight email sent to your inbox, and you CHOOSE to go to LinkedIN to respond.
Reputation Management – If I’m using Facebook to manage my social network, there’s nothing there that tells a new visitor to my profile page if I’m worth engaging in a conversation. You can read my Wall (where people leave messages). You can view my friends. But that’s it.
In LinkedIN, there’s a recommendation system with a good sense of detail and authority.
LinkedIN needs a profile picture. There’s been a debate there as to whether that’s professional or not. I think it is.
Facebook stands to be the winner in this fight, simply because they’ve got the api open already. They also have a lot of informal conversational touchpoints built into the app.
But I wouldn’t count out LinkedIN. Once people get over themselves and realize it’s a great community/networking tool instead of a digital resume, people will get a little more community-centric on LinkedIN. With some open APIs, and or with someone willing to export data, if only via RSS, I think LinkedIN could recapture the ground that people are seeking in a social networking tool.
I’ve said in the past: Facebook seems to have lots of ways to DO something. LinkedIN is a profile, and then you write some recommendations, and then not much exciting happens. There’s some rough work ahead for LinkedIN to turn this platform into something even more valuable, but then again, there has to be an incentive and momentum.
What do you think? Is this even relevant to you?