Does LinkedIn Really Need to Worry About Facebook?

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When the news first broke that LinkedIn would be releasing a developer API, both the way they marketed this move and the way the community responded to it seems somewhat unreasonable. LinkedIn is a specialized social network and they shouldn’t really be worrying about Facebook, at least not yet.
Chairman and founder of the business oriented social networking site, Reid Hoffman told Dan Farber that the site would be releasing developer APIs so that it can better compete with Facebook by becoming more of a platform. Nick O’Neill further tells us that since Facebook opened up their site about a month ago, many people have been reporting that they are receiving more and more professional contact requests through this site rather than LinkedIn. First of all I find it hard to believe that this is a large concern and even if there are statistics to prove otherwise, this should only be a short-term worry.
LinkedIn is known for having a clear focus in mind. The site doesn’t aim to do many things at once, rather is strictly a business-oriented social network and is damn good at that. And keeping that in mind, even if Facebook was to launch some sort of competitor, just take a look at the sites’ demographics and you tell me which one you would rather be a part of for professional social networking.
LinkedIn Demographics
The site has over 11 million users including recruiters from venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and Greylock, Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo. The average LinkedIn user is 39 years old and makes $139,000 a year.
Facebook Demographics
Though the site is slowly trending towards an older crowd a large number of the site’s over 25 million users are still in the 18-24 year range with the average user making an of $76,000 a year (high-end estimate).
I think LinkedIn co-founder Konstantin Guericke had it right when he said, “We want LinkedIn to go wherever your business network would go. If it’s social, we’ll leave that to Facebook. But if it’s about money, then it’s LinkedIn.” And that’s what they should be thinking about.

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  • Gerard McGarry

    Muhammad: I see LinkedIn as a bit old-school, like the stalwart Friends Reunited. The model of charging for membership is simply a turn off. A big one.
    Essentially, these kinds of social networks act as an information barrier to make contact with old friends and colleagues, while Facebook allows you to do it for free. I mean, why would you want the pro membership?
    Perhaps, as you say, their target market is different and the LinkedIn crowd have more disposable cash to splash around. But as you know, when the tide of popularity moves to another platform, so do the bulk of the users.
    Personally, I’ve already had more success connecting with people on Facebook than I ever had with LinkedIn.

  • Brad

    personally, being in the 39 yr old category, I have had more success connecting with people on Linkedin.
    According to this article, most of my friends and myself need to get a raise, and I am a Sr Database Administrator so it’s not like I am flipping hamburgers..
    But then how many 18-24 yr olds do you know making 76k a year??

  • Daniel

    Nice quick post. I think right now LinkedIn is the obvious winner, but it also depends what circle you’re in.
    At least in the San Francisco Bay Area, all the high-tech kids are busy on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve had not only a good time connecting with people, but actually networking with them, learning of events in the area etc.
    So at least for my network, Facebook has been a lot more productive to me in keeping tabs of what potential clients and partners are doing.
    – Daniel

  • tongkat ali

    It’s interesting, when you wrote this article, Linkedin had some strong advantages over Facebook. Facebook’s proliferation into the young professional segment in the last 6 months even is amazing. I use facebook to track down business contacts now. It’s amazing how far its come.

  • Jeff Weidner

    Linkedin has been enormously helpful to our company. We are a candidate research firm that helps other companies locate, identify and pre-screen candidates for their staffing departments. I can think of no better tool on the internet to do this.
    I’m an open networker with over 4600 first level connections; feel free to connect jeffweidnerlinkedin@ AT