A couple of days ago, I was invited by one group on LinkedIn to join its group on Facebook. For those that aren’t familiar with LinkedIn, it’s kind of like professional networking. Whereas social networking sites like Facebook attempt primarily to bring friends and those in our social circles together, LinkedIn connects professionals. So on Facebook I have many of my high school and college friends, but on LinkedIn I have people with whom I work, with whom I used to work, and with peers at other institutions.
Of course, there is considerable overlap. Some of my friends on Facebook are excellent professional connections, and some of my connections on LinkedIn have become friends.
The idea of having a Facebook group dedicated to an existing LinkedIn group, however, kind of misses the point. While there is a lot of overlap between my respective circles, I use the two sites very, very differently. More importantly, while Facebook may be the networking site these days, LinkedIn provides a very different kind of connectivity.
I know person X, who works at company A. Someone that knows me wants to work at company A. I’m the connector. I’ve actually been the middle-man for I believe 3 people looking for jobs – just letting people know that there is a connection, and via a general LinkedIn recommendation. This was specifically cited after the person was hired.
I’m going to a conference, and am wanting to meet up with a counterpart at another university. We have a mutual connection on LinkedIn, and maybe that gives us a starting point for a productive conversation.
Facebook does offer connections – “you and person X have 3 mutual friends” – but how do I reconcile a bunch of high school friends where we’re reminiscing about our youths in our status messages with a desire to create professional connections?
Someone suggested that this Facebook group is an indication that the LinkedIn group will transition over to the former. I think this would be a mistake. Even though I go to FB everyday whereas LinkedIn once a week or so, they serve very different purposes, and I think both necessary ones.