I just got a message from a contact on LinkedIn informing me that they would no longer be using LinkedIn and if I wanted to “network” with them then I would have to move over to Facebook. The reasons given were that Facebook allows you to expose more “personality” and that it also allows you to integrate applications (such as Twitter). Now. I have been using LinkedIn for a while now and I have had some very good experiences with it. I have also spent a great deal of time building up my network there and taking great pains to do so in a meaningful way. I like LinkedIn. One of the reasons I like it is because it’s built for professionals. I never get asked by LinkedIn if I “hooked up” with someone or whether I met someone on a “study abroad program.” The second reason I like LinkedIn is that it doesn’t have pictures. This encourages people to behave professionally there and not treat their profile page like a graffiti wall. Both these factors are to Facebook’s detriment, in my opinion. Why do we all suddenly feel the need to bahave like college students again? Am I the only one out there who frankly didn’t like college that much and was glad to be done with it?
On the point of openness, though, my friend definitely has a point. LinkedIn really needs APIs, including the ability to get at your data using FOAF or other open protocols. In fact, if Facebook and LinkedIn both supported FOAF, you would be able to choose which service best suited you and then build your network picking friends/colleagues from either service (or any other FOAF-based service). Imagine this: you build up your network on Bebo, then when you go to college you transfer everything over to Facebook and when you become an old codger like me you can graduate to LinkedIn. Why can’t we all just get along?