Sunday, January 09, 2011

Does LinkedIn matter anymore?

I have recently received a few Facebook requests from people I don’t know.  In most cases, they were from people with whom I have a large number of mutual acquaintances, usually from work-related activities. 

Until today, I’ve been in the habit of asking the requestors to connect via LinkedIn instead of Facebook, since I consider the former primarily useful for professional networking, and the latter more appropriate for connections with people with whom I’m already engaged in some sort of relationship (often not work-related – friends and family, or connected for non-work-related common interests and other topics, with people I’ve known through work domains).

I’m now starting to suspect those criteria don’t matter anymore – i.e., that Facebook is going to be as useful for professional networking as it is other networking domains, and that it would be a good investment of my time to ensure my Facebook profile is a clean superset of my LinkedIn profile. 

I already expected Facebook to become a de facto “standard” identity service.  I ran into yet another example of trends in that context this morning, when the Boston Globe prompted me for my login id/pw.  I’ve been using the same credentials with the site for more than 15 years, and haven’t recently deleted cookies/etc., so I was surprised by the request; then I noticed the easiest thing to do was to “login” via my Facebook identity, rather than continuing with (re-entering) my Boston Globe identity (I also concluded, incidentally, that the nudge was intentional, on the part of the Globe).  Yes, I know there are lots of concerns with that approach/policy; none of the services is completely “free…”

The Facebook conceptual model and user experience are going to have to evolve before I can completely abandon LinkedIn, however – e.g., with some sort of modality – so that I could, for example, maintain a professional profile as well as a complementary but separable personal Facebook profile to share information exclusively with people I know well and trust.

Perhaps that’s already possible with Facebook, and I simply haven’t looked in the right place yet.  I suppose I should also renew my exploration of services/tools for syndicating my blog into my Facebook stream, since I almost entire read-only in Facebook these days, (inadvertently) anti-socially…

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