Facebook vs. LinkedIn for the job search?

Check out this interesting article on Job-Hunt.org by Joshua Waldman (author of Job Searching with Social Media For Dummies): Facebook to Usurp LinkedIn for Job Search Networking

In the article Joshua compares Facebook to LinkedIn, as far as they are relevant for job seekers.  A year or so ago there wasn’t really a good comparison, since Facebook wasn’t made for professional networking.  There are some things that have changed that:

  1. Facebook’s size…. approaching 1 billion signups (not, I argue, users), vs. LinkedIn approaching 200 million signups.  Both are huge numbers, but Facebook is about 5 times (or more) the size of LinkedIn, as far as the userbase.  This isn’t necessarily a good thing (more spammers, more people not-at-all interested in your business, career, brand, etc.), but it’s an important factor.
  2. Facebook Apps like BranchOut allow you to do professional networking activities on Facebook, and some say this makes it like a LinkedIn (or, LinkedIn for Facebook).

To put this argument into perspective, we could also say that Pinterest is a huge, fast-growing social network, and maybe that will be more important or relevant than LinkedIn, right?

Wrong.  We’re comparing apples to oranges in a way that not many people talk about.  Most people, when doing this comparison, talk about stats and facts (like #1 and #2 above), but they don’t talk about why people go to a particular social site.

Why do people go to Pinterest? (and, for that matter, WHO is going to Pinterest?  I would argue that people who want to see cute, fun, sassy and clever are going to Pinterest.  I don’t think recruiters are going there to look for talent, and unemployed people are going there to do a job search.  I don’t think most businesses are going to Pinterest to find new clients (they are still trying to figure out what Pinterest is).

You can compare the size and growth of Pinterest to other social networks, but you HAVE TO say why people are going there.

Did you hear that when Facebook opened up to people outside of universities, many users (students) left Facebook, because they didn’t want to go to an environment where their parents and non-school people could easily and freely come?  It was practically blasphemous that Facebook opened up to people who shouldn’t have been allowed in.

So ask, why do people go to Facebook?  Why do they go to LinkedIn?  I would suggest they are very different reasons…

Is it fair to do this type of comparison?   Yes, but I think it’s too early to draw solid conclusions.

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