I read a post earlier today by Jeremiah Owyang entitled LinkedIn’s Web Strategy. I recently wrote a post about the value of LinkedIn and that was not what Jeremiah was questioning. His inquiry was more with regard to its strategic approach as related to other social networks, particularly Facebook.
LinkedIn sees itself as a social networking tool for business. Facebook is a social network for life, which may include business.
Does or should LinkedIn deploy an API to integrate into Facebook as Facebook positions itself as THE social networking platform? It is definitely an interesting strategy if LinkedIn feels there is a risk that it can be dis intermediated by Facebook if it deployed its own more business-centric offering. As it stands, I think there is still a tremendous amount of differentiation between the two sites, aside from the baseline (and annoyance) of having to manage networks and relationships in two places.
This begs a further point. We are sure to see a lot of convergence in the social networking space. There are simply too many players where maintaining your own personal information and your network of relationships. In order to survive, a social networking site is going to have a key differentiating value proposition to me as a user or a critical competitive advantage. Right now, I think Facebook and LinkedIn both have one, critical mass versus targeted business solution respectively. But there are a number of players out there as well such as the obvious MySpace, Friendster, even Plaxo and now Xing to name a few.
Of further interest is predict what the social networking landscape looks like and how we interact with it if these networks begin to converge either through consolidation or web service tie-in. Where does one stop and the other begin? How do we merge our networks as some of our network members only live in one or the other? And what capabilities do the networks give us as we try to segment out family from friends, friends from colleagues and colleagues from acquaintances.
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