Facebook vs. Linkedin – An unpopular opinion

Everybody are using Facebook. At least a lot of bloggers. And yes, I am there too. I am using it to communicate with friends, as well as my business partners.

It is the most efficient social network I know, and I spend a lot of time during the day actually working with it. I market events in Facebook, create special interest groups, and connect to new people. Linkedin seems to be a boring corporate product with no fun at all.

Some of my friends left Linkedin for Facebook. Jeff’s announcement about it even made it to Techmeme front page.

However, here are several questions I ask myself when I read these statements:

1.Does Facebook and Linkedin serve the same need? Not for me. I am using Linkedin as a dynamic address book, that helps me to keep track of my business contacts. I also use it in order to find and connect with new people professionally. I use Facebook to interact with my friends and business partners. It is a completely different need and function. One does not replace the other. If you want to know my job and contact details,contact me through Linkedin. If you to know me – connect with me through Facebook.

2. What can reduce Facebook efficiency and usability for me? Two main things can make me stop using Facebook – too much advertisement and spam. Considering the fact that Facebook needs to make money, advertisement will grow. Spam is controlled in the network today, but the minute I’ll get an unsolicited email, I’ll shut down my profile and move to another network. Which brings me to the next point.

3. Does Facebook treat me as a customer or as a hostage? This is by far the most irritating issue in Facebook approach. Linkedin sees me as a customer. I have ownership on my contact list, and I can export it to my outlook without too much effort. Facebook approach is just the opposite – if you want to keep in touch with YOUR friends you have to do it through the site, as they don’t allow you to export their contact details easily. And don’t start telling me privacy is an issue – THESE ARE MY FRIENDS. If they don’t want me to have their contact details they won’t connect with me in the first place. If Facebook cannot keep their customers happy without forcing them to use their site as communication mean, they have a problem with their value proposition. If they think they offer good enough service, why don’t they allow me to export MY FRIENDS’ contact details easily?

I am using and continue to use both Linkedin and Facebook. Both are good services. I hope that Facebook will allow me, the user, to decide what to do with my contact list.


Another Hostage

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9 Responses to “Facebook vs. Linkedin – An unpopular opinion”

  1. 1 Tsahi Levent-Levi July 19, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    I think I agree with you regarding the current situation of both of these networks, but I think Facebook will win here due to the sheer amount of users joining in and the flexibility and openness to provides.
    LinkedIn has stated they will provide APIs, but it might just be too late for them to win over Facebook as a phenomenon.
    I still don’t have many friends on Facebook, so I am not willing to switch my LinkedIn account for Facebook just yet though.

  2. 2 oren zuckerman July 22, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Kfir I agree with your first point, and I think its due to the conscious design of the services. linkedin was designed as a networked addressbook more than an active social network. It helped many people join linkedin as their first network because there is a very low demand in communication with others (people that will not jump on the facebook wagon). It will be interesting to see how the LinkedIn audience will react to more intimate communication between the community members.


  3. 3 Kfir Pravda July 23, 2007 at 9:35 am

    Oren, Tsahi – thanks for your comments.
    I believe that most people just don’t want to be poked by their business contacts, or play zombie with them.
    Also, note that the hype around facebook is fading as people understand the limitation of this platform.

  4. 4 Dennis McDonald July 28, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    Another concern for me has been the closed nature of Facebook. If I create content (text) there it’s only accessible to Facebook users. If I create content for my blog, it’s available to everyone. Since I rarely use Linkedin for generating content (which is possible with the Answers system) that’s usually not an issue.

  5. 5 Hans de Kraker August 14, 2007 at 6:39 am

    Hi Kfir,

    This is an interesting “cross-platform discussion” that occurs on Facebook on Linkedin (LinkedInnovators on Yahoo Groups) and outside these two on blogs like yours.

    Interestingly enought Facebook has given birth to several Linkedin discussion groups – Linkedin does not offer the same option. Facebook allows users to create groups – without getting approval from Facebook management. One would wonder if the Linkedin ‘group vetting team’ would allow a facebook group to be registered on Linkedin.

    I know that some C-level execs at big corporations (credit card company Visa for example)in Asia Pac prefer Facebook over Linkedin. They have even created their own Visa group. They have commented that Linkedin is ‘pushy and not always practical’ where Facebook suits them. They will probably never appear on Linkedin.

    Some other C-level execs do not like Facebook for other reasons and will choose Linkedin as their way of participating in this new world of communication.

    Until Facebook allows for all the functionality that Linkedin offers (recommendations etc), I agree that there is place for both I believe.

    The issues you raise of not being able to export your contacts are again valid I believe and drawbacks of the system.

    I suspect a majority of users will use both platforms, depending on the use they make of the platform.

    Like you, I would not want to poke a business contact and may not want to share personal information with business contacts. At this stage there are no ways to determine the different level of access.

    Linkedin has done great so far and so has Facebook- but in this world where yesterday is stale – they both will have to make sure it innovates and opens up and leave more up to the users and the community.



  6. 6 Kfir Pravda August 19, 2007 at 7:52 am

    Hans – you are the first commenter from Australia! Welcome!
    I’d love to hear more about the world of social networks and online video in your continent. Please feel free to drop me a line at kpravda@gmail.com

  7. 7 conseilsmarketing September 24, 2007 at 11:59 pm


    Pour info je viens de publier un dossier sur Facebook “Quel usage professionnel pour Facebook ?”, et j’ai cité ton article dans la partie sur les témoignages d’utilisation de Facebook.

    Ce dossier a donc pour but:
    – De vous expliquer pourquoi s’inscrire sur Facebook est intéressant pour vous.
    – De vous donner 15 usages professionnels de Facebook pour développer votre activité
    – De vous présenter 30 applications incontournables à utiliser sur Facebook.
    – De vous mettre en garde sur les limites et les erreurs à ne pas commettre sur Facebook

    Tu peux consulter le dossier complet sur http://conseilsenmarketing.blogspot.com/2007/09/quel-usage-professionnel-pour-facebook.html



  1. 1 LinkedIn Adds Profile Pictures - So What? « Media, Technology, and Rebel Filmmaking Trackback on September 28, 2007 at 5:04 pm
  2. 2 Quel usage professionnel pour Facebook ? Trackback on August 3, 2008 at 11:54 pm

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