While Phil thinks Google beats Facebook (and I agree), I think Facebook beats LinkedIn.

It’s worth giving voice to the LinkedIn believers. They argue that Facebook’s distractions (photos, relationship status, wall comments, etc) make it unsuitable for business networking. The stripped down LinkedIn, then, offers more value in a business setting.

However they are thinking about on-line networking as if it were classified advertising: I want a 1998 Toyota Corolla priced near $10,000; or I want a 12-month lease on a two bedroom in the East Village of Manhattan; or I want a contact in JPM Sales and Trading who knows one of my friends. No frills needed, just show me the info.

No! Internet social networking should not focus on allowing people to “map out” webs of unknown people, like classifieds allow people to map out buyers and sellers. This is not a valuable service.

Internet social networking should focus on content about friends’ or acquaintances’ lives, such as photos, geographical location, current personal and professional activities, associations with groups, etc. Facebook provides these tools to allow people to stay in touch. It is entertaining because you are learning more about your friends’ lives. It is valuable because it facilitates quality real world interactions (and real world introductions too!).

Phil thinks that you will eventually be able to use the web to identify new people to meet in the real world(here and here). However with the exception of on-line dating, I have my doubts. The internet a much stronger tool for staying in touch. Leave meeting new people to the real world.


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