There’s lots of buzz about LinkedIn opening up its API to outside developers – and the inevitable comparisons with Facebook, which pulled off the same stunt a couple weeks ago. It has caused some people such as my friend, Mathew Ingram, to wonder if LinkedIn and Facebook are competing, and if LinkedIn stands a chance in the face of the Facebook Phenomena (aka FP).
In a sense, LinkedIn and Facebook are competing given they’re both popular and useful social networking tools. That said, they’re different beasts with different wrinkles and characteristics. LinkedIn is a serious corporate networking tool. You recommend me to a colleague, and then when I want to do some business, I’ll contact them – or something like that. Facebook, for now, is about the consumer and fun/entertainment. It’s not about business.
Of course, there will be some overlap. LinkedIn users who into social networking will, no doubt, check out Facebook as another valuable tool to get the word out. I mean, half the reason I’m in Facebook is having my professional profile available to a huge audience. And maybe some Facebook users will check out LinkedIn, although I suspect it will be parents as opposed to their children.
What’s pretty amazing about Facebook is it has 11 million members and, more important, it’s a profitable business. By the way, b5media has a great LinkedIn blog, Linked Intelligence.