Is Facebook the New LinkedIn?

September 5th, 2007 | Categories: networks, social media, strategy, trends

LinkedIn logoThe advent of the Internet and the proliferation of cell phones essentially wiped out the need for a Rolodex. Business contact information could now be managed via some sort of electronic device. All of a sudden, connections and relationships seemed much more manageable without the need for a tangible organizational system. Microsoft Outlook served as a main hub for many. Plaxo was the next step. Then along came web 2.0…

LinkedIn was born and quickly became the business contact tool of choice for the tech-savvy. As opposed to many of the other social networks, LinkedIn focused on an older, more established business crowd. The ability to meet contacts through established connections was a main driver for the site. Subsequently, LinkedIn quickly became known as the place to network with business contacts online.

Nowadays, the leader is starting to see competition from an unexpected source. More and more business professionals are starting to use Facebook as their main means of networking and relationship-tracking.

This may seem odd to some, as LinkedIn is focused specifically on business professionals, thereas Facebook provides a more general offering. The reason I see many making the switch is this: Facebook simply has a much larger user base than LinkedIn. In other words, there is a higher likelihood that a given contact will be using Facebook. Keep in mind that Facebook is tailored for an older demographic as well, as opposed to say MySpace or hi5. Having said that, even though Facebook is a generic social utility, great value can still be derived from the depth of connections and the internal communication mechanisms. Personally, I also find LinkedIn a bit confusing at times. The more simplified Facebook experience may also be a factor.

The transition is still in its early stages. Many still live by LinkedIn and may be unlikely to switch due to their strong ties with the service already. Nevertheless, Facebook may provide an added networking tool, if not the networking tool, for business professionals in the future.

Do you think Facebook will thwart LinkedIn in the networking space? Or is the more tailored offering going to win out in the end?


  1. Sean Says:

    Facebook for an older crowd?? It was started as a social network among college kids only within the last decade, making the majority of persons like 30 something at most. Now that they’ve opened it up to businesses and other groups it’s gained popularity but your statements are somewhat off the mark.

  2. Aidan Says:


    Facebook definitely caters to an older crowd when compared to most other social networks. The 20+ age group is a far cry from the teenagers that constitute MySpace, hi5, and Friendster. In this case, the term ‘older’ is used relatively. I’m not talking about a 40+ age group.


  3. Stacie Says:

    Well, I just recently discovered LinkedIn and I refuse to get a mySpace page (for many reasons, like too many useless ads and no interest in bumping into my teenage nieces online) and I have never been to facebook so no comment on that.

    One thing I actually like a lot about LinkedIn is not having to be concerned about what the page looks like (many social net. sites are all about the personalization and presentation of you page). I am concerned about how my content reads and if I can contribute to something that seems more worthwhile like my quality contacts, reconnecting as opposed to meeting complete strangers and getting resonable responses to real business issues.

    I can also admit that the “Free part” is typically the only thing I am interested in though so my loyalty to any site only extends as far as the free features do.

    But I would venture to say that it all boils down to why you feel you need to be out there online in the first place. I think that they all have their place and if you are slick enough you can satisfy all your online needs with the proper combination and cross linking… after all I want them all to come look at my personal and/or business site in the end.

  4. The Evolution of LinkedIn Says:

    […] For those interested, I wrote an article a couple months back begging the question, “Is Facebook the new LinkedIn?” Feel free to give it a read. For further analysis, be sure to read posts from my fellow Canadian tech bloggers Mark Evans and Mathew Ingram.    […]

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