Last May, LinkedIn Corp. debuted as a publicly traded company, with a market value of $10 billion; co-founder Reid Hoffman is now a billionaire. Shortly after its launch in 2003, LinkedIn had 4,500 members; eight years later it boasts 102 million members. Formerly EVP at PayPal Inc. (prior to its acquisition by Ebay in 2002), Hoffman is a board member for several technology and startup companies, including Mozilla Corp. and Zynga.
CEO Jeff Weiner, who made $5.2 million in the IPO (and holds a remaining stake valued at $230 million), does not see Facebook as a threat to LinkedIn. He said that while LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are often lumped together in a broad social networking category, all three represent separate social platforms that serve different needs, and that most people prefer to keep their professional and personal online personas distinct. He cited keg stand (the college tradition of drinking beer from the tap of a keg while suspended upside-down) photos as a prime example of the types of personal information members would not be inclined to share with a prospective employer.
But Facebook appears to be making some major changes. Right now the site isn’t set up to be used for professional networking (LinkedIn’s primary focus). Rather, profiles consist of personal information, pictures, and videos, a structure not conducive to job searches or making professional connections. But Facebook has recently created friend grouping, enabling connections to see an entirely different set of content (for example, a professional profile minus the personal information or photos). Facebook is also reported to be changing its data structure to introduce the concept of networking, a newly added relationship type. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for these two online social networking giants.
Colleen Reyerson is a Certified Expert Resume Writer (CERW) and principal of Executive Resumes Atlanta, an Atlanta, GA executive resume writing service specializing in career marketing solutions for six- and seven-figure job seekers. Member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARW/CC), the National Resume Writer’s Association (NRWA), Career Directors International (CDI), and the Better Business Bureau (BBB)