LinkedIn: New School vs. Old School Networking

Talking about adoption issues with new social tools eventually touches on age differences. Are younger people more inclined to use Web 2.0 technology? Are managers less inclined? Whether you believe so or not, do we encourage this problem? It’s one thing when traditional industries struggle with this, and it’s another thing when technology or internet companies perpetuate this hurdle to 2.0 networking possibilities.

With business people now using Facebook for networking, I was struck by noticing on Susan Scrupski’s Facebook profile that she is a member of a network called “Dump LinkedIn and other networks in favour of Facebook”. Is LinkedIn old school networking? Some people must think so.

LinkedIn runs the risk of alienating an exploding market of 2.0 advocates if it doesn’t address this type of challenge. I am not surprised LinkedIn is allowing this to happen.

Sharing a panel with a LinkedIn exec, I asked him if LinkedIn had ever considered creating a collaboration space on a wiki platform such as what SAP does with its SAP Developer Network. Perhaps LinkedIn could offer a more exciting collaboration space to complement its network. LinkedIn’s question-answer feature is rather old school. Now I can be accused of promoting wikis, but his response said a lot about LinkedIn’s view of the 2.0 world. He said LinkedIn targets senior professionals and senior people are too busy to edit wiki pages and that senior people have little time to write, let alone handle email.

LinkedIn I will assume is commercially minded and has concrete business reasons for taking this tack. But why perpetuate this hurdle when you have such a huge valuable network? Whether it’s a wiki or not, I would like to see LinkedIn get more new school-minded and make the experience on their site a lot more interesting.

4 responses to “LinkedIn: New School vs. Old School Networking

  1. Hey Jeff. And, further, I sent a note to all my LinkedIn contacts following in the group founder’s format letting them know my intentions on… dumping. I got a note back from a PR contact on my list which said,

    Will abide my your edict.

    I also sent your not to a friend of mine who is the head of corporate communications at Facebook. She liked it very much…”

    Markets really are conversations, I guess. See you tonight. 😉

  2. I think I like your idea better than Susan’s though, Jeffrey – the two networks DO have a somewhat different intent, and FB is almost as much a roach motel as LI … so while I use both, it’s for different reasons, and I am more likely to drop FB than LI, because everything I do in FB is a link to somewhere else, and I already converse with the people I am “friends” with there. At Linkedin, it’s a different set of people (some overlap), so I would prefer to see THAT experience improved … a Confluence hook-in sounds ideal!

    PS – the t-shirt does good …

  3. Some of the Enterprise Irregulars and I debated this last night over Barolo and plates of pasta larger than my head…

    Some of the EIs think feature creep could hurt LinkedIn. I am not advocating per se a wiki platform. What misses the mark is anything innovative remotely on the order of the feel of Facebook.

  4. Pingback: Business School Ranking

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