Source: Facebook vs LinkedIn Traffic
The illustration above shows the overlap between people who use LinkedIn and Facebook. What initially caught my eye was the demographic (age analysis) of LinkedIn VS Facebook users. We know that professional relationships are moving from the Rolodex to the social networks. LinkedIn is designed for specifically for business professional networking, while Facebook is a bit more casual. Yet, I do professional networking on Facebook and I'm noticing a number of colleagues are too.
While the demographics of Facebook are younger compared to LinkedIn, the Compete analysis shows that Facebook users are maturing. In June of 2007, nearly over 35% of Facebook traffic came the 18-24 year old segment, compared to around 22% in June 2008.
Meanwhile my colleagues in education and communities of practice (Browyn Stuckey, Jeffrey Keefer, and others) hosted an online conference about Managing Multi Memberships in Social Networks. I had wanted to participate, but my crazy travel schedule quickly made that goal unrealistic. So, I'm learning third hand through looking at the materials.
They started with a survey to examine people's experience using social networks. There are two terrific refleciton questions which caught my eye:
1. How do you use social networks?
just for fun
part of my degree work
personal learning (optional)
professional development (required)
part of my job
2. Which phrases best describe how you feel when coping with multi membership in your online networks?
drowning, feeling like quitting something
roller coaster, sometimes fun to look forward to, sometimes just anxiously holding on
situation under control, have strategies to manage
guilty that I am not more active in all my communities
They used discussion thread to discuss the issue:
I used to heed the advice that you should only connect with people who you know pretty well. And that's the way I've operated. However, that never seemed to work all that well, and I think I've figure it out.
I listened to a podcast that featured Christian Mayaud in which he described PAN CAN FAN.
An individual's social network (online or offline) is divided into three groups:
- PANs = Potentially Active Network
- CANs = Currently Active Network
- FANs = Formerly Active Network
The "CAN" and "FAN" are people you know pretty well. The "PAN" are people you may know superficially.
This is a good way to think about your network and as Tony suggests you may not want to link to everyone. And you may have different approaches on networks. Not too long ago, Charlene Li wrote about professional networking tips including friending policies if you are using these tools to support or enhance a professional network. It made me think that I have slightly different approaches on different spaces.
Facebook: I will immediately approve a friend request on Facebook if I recognize them or know or have recently met them. "CAN or FAN" as Tony describes above. But, if someone I don't immediately recognize requests to be friends - then I will ask them why they want to be friends - time permitting. What has been happening lately - because I get so many request s - I end up ignoring them. If someone sends a personal message with some context about why they want to be friends, then I will friend them. This inspired me to put a friending policy on my limited profile.
Twitter: My updates are unlocked. This is my "loosest" network.
LinkedIn: I treat LinkedIn as my rolodex and tend to friend people who I know or have met. I tend to use LinkedIn quite to network through my contacts to find people I'm specifically looking for. Tony's post is making reconsider that.
- Is A Social Media Friend Really A Friend? by Mark Dykeman
- How I Think About My Social Networks by Scott Monty
- No, I'm Not Ignoring You by Scott Monty
- Social Media Etiquette by Chris Brogan
- Can Facebook Replace Face to Face by Social Citizen Blog
How do you use social networking for professional networking? Is it a part of your job or optional? Do you have different networking strategies across networks? How do you manage your mulit-memberships without going crazy? What are your tips?