LinkedIn’s Web Strategy

LinkedIn’s CEO suggests that there’s a few new features and web strategies to watch for:

“LinkedIn will dominate the business of business networking — serving as a “productivity tool,” used for professional reference checking, recruiting, and to get expert advice.”

As well as some hint’s to some hooks into existing social networking systems

“…Wouldn’t it at least be smart, then, for LinkedIn to deploy itself as an application on Facebook, given Facebook’s new open API strategy? Quite possibly, said Nye who pointed out that Hoffman was an early investor in Facebook, and that Facebook backer Peter Thiel also has money in LinkedIn. “We know each other well,” said Nye. ‘We like each other.’…”

Counterpoint: They’d probably need to move there quickly if mojo is right:

“My wife is a good example. She’d never be caught dead on Linkedin, but she increasingly uses Facebook for work. That’s supposedly Linkedin’s market, but Facebook ability to connect schoolmates/classmates gives it a huge advantage over Linkedin. “

Update: Jim thinks that LinkedIn is too expensive, I know for me and others ways to find people online (simply asking peers or using blogs) to find people is another route. Have you ever tried to find someone’s email by typing their first, last, and then the “@” symbol? You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to find people’s email addresses. Look, I’m not knocking LinkedIn, I’m just speculating on the side and hoping they’ll continue to succeed.

Segmentation? Future generations, filter features
Do you get the difference here folks? LinkedIn sees itself as a social networking tool for business. Facebook is a social network for life, which may include business. I believe that the next generation of workers will be sharing their lives (which includes career and work) online, it’s natural and native to them. If Linkedin segments themselves as a separate island, does it serve them well when future generations are on the continent? I mean, who’s to say that Facebook can’t create a ‘professional’ filter that allows a user to share their business version of a profile as public, and all personal and private info is for ‘friends’ only.

Opportunities

One key feature I see that LinkedIn from benefiting is to become the online source of the resume, not just the networks that are connected to the jobs. Help users to answer; “what skills have I learned, who else has them, where can I find others with these skills”. There’s an opportunity to expand the tool as the online resume.

If LinkedIn is to become the premiere social networking tool for businesses (as stated in this article) then they need to consider joining all the communities that existing in the context of business. If I were working at LinkedIn, I would be pushing an API to Facebook quickly and also universal login that web managers could integrate into their site. This identity systems could feed into recruiting systems, monster.com and even the ‘career’ pages on corporate websites –let me fill out my core information (or different versions of it) once and submit to many. It’s an API really, and would actually be a competitor to some identity management systems, almost like OpenID.

Evolution

LinkedIn has been around since the first wave (I was a heavy evangelist), are they ready to evolve as new communities and generations form online? Online, the future of a business persona and personal persona may be blurred –it is for me.

Update: Interesting comparisons from Accman of Facebook vs LinkedIn
July 16th: Jeff Pulver is not accepting any more LinkedIn invites. I rarely accept them too.

  • http://blog.dkb.mailhome.com David Blanar

    Why would someone not be “caught dead on LinkedIn”? I’m on both sites, but LinkedIn – as a professional connector – has a superior feature set.

    Yes, it does cost to connect to people on LinkedIn, but it’s a far more efficient and fit-for-purpose experience. Facebook’s signal-to-noise ratio (between personal notes and professional enquiries) seems prohibitively burdensome, I don’t use it for anything other than ad hoc interaction.

    It’s a point well made about being a social network for Life – I get it. But is that a defendable position? Other social networks would be able to make this same claim. Has Flickr suddenly entered the business networking fray? Well, yes, probably, for photographers. Not for me.

    Regardless of how enmeshed our personal and professional lives become online, some differences between the two spheres must surely remain. After all, I maintain separate circles of friends inside and outside work; sometimes they overlap but mostly – and intentionally – they do not. This distinction is not a limitation of technology.

    Perhaps the movement for LinkedIn is not towards Facebook but towards oDesk? Sure, provide APIs for social networks; but as markets become more fluid, LinkedIn could position itself as a authoritative player connecting sellers and buyers, which seems a lucrative place to be.

    Thoughts?

  • http://dbillian.typepad.com Damon Billian

    Hi Jeremiah,

    I think the real value of LinkedIn is that you don’t have that blur between professional & personal.

    I hope our good friend, Mr. Mario Sundar, does take note of your feedback on other issues (API, etc.) If there is any threat to LinkedIn, I would say that the system is much more “closed” than some of the other networks. Answers, for example, should have the content search-egnine friendly…it might also help bring aboard new users.

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  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    David, great comparisons. You could be right about oDesk if you believe that everyone will be a consultant in the future (there was some research and a few articles that indicate this to be a trend)

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Damon

    Good feedback as always, I’ve noticed that for those that don’t have public blogs that linkedin profiles often come up high. I’m sure Mario will see this, he’s subscribed.

  • http://blog.dkb.mailhome.com David Blanar

    I guess we’d call it small-c consultancy?

    I expect more of our services to be managed online, be it wedding planning, tax preparation, will writing, taxi ordering, flower deliveries, etc etc. We still have a ways to go connecting buyers and sellers with the confidence borne from a combination of personal recommendations and objective, ‘crowd-sourced’ assessment.

    Most of us look to business networking for a) introductions and b) evidence a prospective agent can do a job. Whether it’s Facebook or LinkedIn, the question remains: which is the best for these tasks?

    I don’t believe it’s “all about the free”; when it comes to commercial networking – ie. professional, not informal, placement – my experience is you get *exactly* what you pay for.

  • http://correlate.wordpress.com Lou Paglia

    You can definitely see where social networking convergence is going to take place. The space is simply getting too crowded and it will be interesting to see how it shakes out. However, I still see there is a distinct difference between LinkedIn and Facebook (that isn’t to say the API idea is a bad one).

    I can’t imagine someone using Facebook for busy at this point in time, there is simply too much noise from people’s personal interactions. LinkedIn definitely is the favorite in my opinion regarding business users. Here is a post about the value I see in LinkedIn:

    http://correlate.wordpress.com/2007/04/07/linkedin-a-valuable-relationship-engine/

  • http://blog.linkedin.com/ Mario Sundar

    Hey J and D!

    Great suggestions, all round.

    I can tell you that we’re definitely listening and are evaluating an API strategy. Will keep the community posted.

    Damon,
    When are you coming back home, bud? BTW, Yes, I realized I missed adding your pictures to my favorite flickr pics. Oops :(

    (Disclosure: I’m the Community Evangelist at LinkedIn)

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  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Breaking news: LinkedIn to open platform

    http://www.allfacebook.com/2007/06/linkedin-opening-platform/

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  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Damon

    Good feedback as always, I've noticed that for those that don't have public blogs that linkedin profiles often come up high. I'm sure Mario will see this, he's subscribed.

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