Please, no more LinkedIn invites

LinkedIn Out and Facebook In logo
Ok, for the last time and to put an end to some speculation, I’m no longer updating my LinkedIn profile (full stop).

The reason is simple. I use Facebook as my shop window, into which you can see who I am, who I know, what I stand for, what I’m working on, where I am and anything else I’d like you to know. If I write a blog post, send a twitter or have pictures taken of me talking at an event, you’ll see them via my RSS feeds which are pulled in from various Web sites.

You’ll even see pictures of me looking pissed (even though I’m not in 99% of them, honest). You’ll also see information about projects I’m working on and networking events I’d like my friends and colleagues to attend. Think of Facebook (my use of it anyway) as a very discrete marketing tool, albeit a byproduct of using the tool and network for fun.

I don’t expect all my LinkedIn connections to ‘move’ to Facebook, but I woud like them to register a Facebook account if they’re really interested in ‘connecting’ with me. Some are likely to be skeptical, assuming Facebook isn’t for business people. If you’re one of these people, think again and look at my list of friends. Amongst them you’ll find very senior, connected and respected people from organisations such as Microsoft, Vodafone, O2, emap, BT, New Media Age (NMA), Haymarket, Conchango and the BBC to name but a few. Then, look at their network of friends… you’ll notice that many of us have mutual friends. This is the best implementation of technology I’ve seen to help build circles of trust.

Facebook enables me to ‘engage’ with friends and colleagues on a regular basis. It helps me to build new relationships and strengthen current ones seamlessly. It even helps my close friends and I to communicate more frequently. I even find myself checking Facebook messages before opening an email client. Most of my personal messages are business related so it’s not as if I’m turning to fun before important work (although they are the same thing for me). I think it must be the personal touch of Facebook.

I would like to point out, that you are not forced to show people anything you’d rather not share. You can also control what you see of others, to ensure you don’t get swamped with stuff you don’t care about.

I will sometimes (however rare) accept Facebook connection requests from people I don’t know personally. This however, only happens when they’re friends of people I know well and trust. It must also be relevant. I also connect with people who are associated with organisations with which I’ve got a strong relationship. For example, I’ve started a group for BIMA (British Interactive Media Association). I Chair BIMA so it would be rude not to connect with members, all of whom I do want to engage with as much as possible! Facebook won’t replace the BIMA Web site, blog or email. It’s intended to aid the build of a community and promote BIMA related activity. Perhaps we’ll extend this to promoting the exclusive projects I’m working on with major brands.

For the record, I will continue to accept LinkedIn invites from people I know, but they’re worthless because I won’t be updating my profile and I won’t ever log in to use it. That is of course, assuming they remain Social Network 1.0 status while Facebook steams ahead as Social Network 3.0 service pack 16. Heck, I don’t even us Upcoming anymore for events.

So, get yourself onto Facebook if you wish to grab my attention or promote business and fun related stuff that’s relevant to both of us 🙂

This post is also intended to address blog posts written by people such as Richard Sedley, Wired Gecko, Aidan, Dennis Howlett. Jemima Kiss from the Guardian has written a nice light hearted piece. It’s also intended to address the few email forums that picked up on my twitter message about my move. Who said twitter doesn’t work?!

It’s sometimes easier to write your own post than it is to write huge comments on other blogs.

[Update] I definitely don’t need LinkedIn anymore as I’ve just exported my entire address book. They should look to import more feeds, rather than export everything.

Comments  Join the discussion

  1. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Julian Bond said...

    “The reason is simple. I use Facebook as my shop window”

    Shame it’s not open to the world then and doesn’t get indexed by Google.

    And that’s the problem with FB. It’s a closed silo with a trap door for data. Like a Black Hole, it’s sucking all our data into it and never letting any out. Even the API is designed to get 3rd parties to enhance FB, rather than to update FB from code or to read FB’s data from code and so enhance the web as a whole by including it in the wide spectrum of mashups.

    It’s all rather Web 1.0 when viewed in that light, isn’t it?

    Go back 10 years and substitute AOL for FB. Would you have moved your entire life to AOL, because all your friends were there and it had all the function you figure you’d ever need? If you had, would it have been a mistake? If FB is so good, why do you run this blog?

  2. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Jane said...

    Your update “[Update] I definitely don’t need LinkedIn anymore as I’ve just exported my entire address book. They should look to important more feeds, rather than export everything.” suggests you can export stuff from facebook. The ability to export is why I like Linked In – whenever a contact updates their details, it gets updated in my calendar next time a synchronise. Your comment makes me wonder if I can do this via facebook? So far I’ve found facebook very one way…

  3. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Terinea Weblog said...

    I completely agree with you. LinkedIn is dead for me too. Although I’m not going to invite people like I did with LinkedIn, because if it doesn’t work out it will be another Social Network i suggested!

  4. flag
    Paul Walsh  Paul Walsh said...

    @Julian and Jane (as you’re bringing up the same point). You’re both right in that Facebook is a little one way. But you’re talking about an implementation of ‘technology’.

    I’ve personally always looked at the version 2.0 as a means of benchmarking a point in time so we could talk about how users have the power to market our ‘brand’. Call it ‘brand engagement’ if you will. Naturally technology is an enabler, but if you get brand engagement then I personally don’t care about the technology used or how it’s implemented.

    Facebook enables me to build communities and engage with people/companies in a way that appears to be quite viral. It enables us to promote what we want people to see and it enables those same people to commentate on what they like/dislike in an open forum.

    So, just because I can’t export a feed to another tool, it doesn’t mean that the tool or company is ‘1.0’. Quite the opposite in fact, it means that the Facebook guys got it right whilst keeping people under their roof. Think of blogs, twitters, wikis, LinkedIn etc as shops. You can either go to each shop across various towns, or you can visit a shopping mall where you’re likely to find everything under 1 roof.

    Using AOL is completely out of context. AOL ‘was’ an ISP that provided a pleasant user experience using premium content during the days when the Web was practically empty and difficult to navigate. They’re no longer with us because they failed to realise that users would want to use the Open Web for free now that it’s better populated. They should have moved to an advertising model sooner in my opinion.

    Why do I have this blog?

    • Why not? It’s not as if we should get rid of everything just because we have Facebook. That said, this blog drives people to my Facebook stuff. I’ve blogged about things, had no comments here, but plenty of feedback via Facebook. I don’t care where people comment as long as
    • I engage with them
    • This entire Web site is based on WordPress, not just the blog part, so it’s great for SEO. It also demonstrates that we care about what people think about us. Feel free to visit my profile page and call me names 🙂
    • I will only highlight blog posts via Facebook which I deem appropriate at that time
    • Facebook users will only continue to read feeds that are appropriate for them – not everyone knows how to subscribe via RSS yet. Facebook makes this process easy.
    • Lots more reasons…

  5. flag
    Paul Walsh  Paul Walsh said...

    @Jamie – I’ve invited tons of people. I wouldn’t worry too much about it not working out. It’s just one of those things. I don’t see Facebook as a Beebo or MySpace. In fact, I think there’s room for a Facebook competitor who can put a business profile element to it.

  6. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  peter wilson said...

    Isn’t this about an evolution of what works for you rather than a dismisal of linked in per se?

    Why should we not ‘out grow’ a social network in the same way we outgrow a magazine or tv programme?

    I think the issue only becomes a major one if people feel we should only ever use one single network to the exclusion of all others.

    Personally I like Facebook with all its faults accepted – and given its free I expect I haven’t got much of a consumer leg to stand on if I want it to change.

  7. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Edgecast Media said...

    Digiculture #3: Facebook and Fragmentation…

    Bored with blogs? Tired of Twitter? Or fed-up with Facebook?
    Actually – I’m quite happy with blogs – or with any kind of media that doesn’t require me to join. I have neglected profiles on both Myspace and Bebo. I’m intrigued by …

  8. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Julian Bond said...

    Why AOL? Because 10 years ago, AOl was a closed community. Data went into it, nothing came out. Hence the comparison. It’s obviously not a perfect comparison because each system did or does many many things differently.

    Why this blog? Well Facebook has no Blogging capability. And unlike even MySpace, there’s no way to post more substantial pieces. And even if you did, they’d be stuck behind the silo wall. Note your comment about SEO. Does Facebook do any SEO? The answer is of course, no.

    It sounds like I’m criticising you and that’s not the intent. I’m just trying to make people aware just how closed FB is. I find that sad. I hope it doesn’t come back to bite us in a year’s time when we all move to the next greatest thing.

    One small example. There are now lots of “Status”, “What am I doing” systems. Most of them have RSS, most of them have an API so it’s conceivable that somebody could create an update once, sync everywhere utility. FB is now only a source of data with no (clean) way to update it from code from the outside. So FB *has* to be the master. Good for *them*, bad for *our* ability to choose.

    Here’s the next example. You can export your contacts from LinkedIn. You can import them into LinkedIn. But you can’t go the other way. You just slipped though the trap door.

    What I’d really like to see is the “AboutMe” pages on blogs to be as rich as the FaceBook profile page and done in a decentralised, open way. Which again makes me sad because the AboutMe page in WP, MT, Blogger, et al is so primitive.

  9. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Jane said...

    The ability to get my data out of an online application is important to me. I love twitter because I have several ways to get to the data – through the web interface, through IM, through one of the many add on applications.

    My main gripe with facebook is that I can’t get my data out of it. As I mentioned above, the main advantage of Linked In is the ability to export my contacts allowing me to have them with me in different formats. This almost certainly doesn’t worry most people.

  10. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Kamrul said...

    “AboutMe page in WP, MT, Blogger, et al is so primitive”-

    Julian it really doesn’t have to be, as that is nothing more than a HTML template which you can tern into anything. Add function like chat script, or say PHP shout box… so many thing which only limit by imagination. 🙂

  11. flag
    Paul Walsh  Paul Walsh said...

    @peter – Yes I agree. It’s what works for me personally and what works for Segala as a company from a marketing perspective. I’m not asking people to leave LinkedIn. I’m simply stating that I’m no longer going to use it as it doesn’t meet my requirements – in fact, I’ve never got anything out of it, but I can see why some would.

    @Edgecast – I too have never joined Beebo or MySapce. I don’t see Facebook in the same light. Facebook is a technology that brings people/feeds together in one place. The others are ‘Web sites’.

  12. flag
    Paul Walsh  Paul Walsh said...

    @Julian, I didn’t take anything you said personally. I might have 10 years ago when I was working for AOL and was less experienced 🙂

    The only content that went into AOL was that created specifically for AOL. That in my opinion is not the same as users creating content. AOL back then is similar to WAP, iMode and Live today on mobile. They too will tumble soon.

    Facebook from what I understand, is purposely closed to Google as they found (I believe) that most people didn’t want it open. Personally I’d rather it was closed, not sure why exactly though.

    You’ve pointed out lots of good examples of where FB could improve. I don’t think for one second that it’s a nice user interface. It has huge improvements to make. For example, I don’t believe group members receive updates when someone writes on a wall or uploads a photo – that’s crap! 🙂

  13. flag
    Paul Walsh  Paul Walsh said...

    @Jane – perhaps someone will build an application to enable us to extract the data. What I don’t like is that once you build an app, you agree (in tiny print) to hand over all rights to that data to FB.

  14. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Tony C said...

    You make some great points and Facebook does have a huge amount of momentum. If the history of the WWW teaches us anything however it is that it’s a fickle master and once another web based darling comes along your flavour of the month becomes rather meager fare. Don’ get me wrong I’m not having a downer on Facebook, I think it’s great for a ton of reasons, but I do have a nagging feeling that say in twelve or eighteen months time we could be in a pub saying…”Yeah I used be on Facebook, but is so much better”.

  15. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  ian said...

    Facebook definitely has the edge as far as connected-ness. Since I can pull data in from my Google Reader links, Twitter and my blog, why would I go anywhere else?

  16. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Dennis Howlett said...

    @Julian Bond: SamapSite gives you blog capability inside FB but it’s not exactly a super feature rich thingy.

    Facebook could provide password protected RSS the same way that HighRise and BaseCamp do.

    I don’t think the FB folk have realised yet that they could easily move this to a commercial model for intranet usage. Mind you, neither have most of the current crop of Web X.0 wannabes.

  17. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Michael Clarke said...

    Hmm. As someone else commented above, one thing I really hate about Facebook is the difficulty of extracting my data, especially on an ongoing basis. The other is how hard it can be to find people or groups or pick out the “correct” versions.

    On the other hand, for me LinkedIn is and has always felt like a Rolodex whilst Facebook is something I find myself drawn back to day after day.

    And Facebook is so much more fun than LinkedIn – I think LinkedIn seriously overestimates the appeal of a button-down shirt and neatly pressed chinos, so to speak…

  18. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Dennis Howlett said...

    Spelling – SampaSite…

  19. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Facebook hits 30 million active users | said...

    […] UPDATE: Speaking of Facebook, ya might wanna read this as well.  Compelling argument! (Link via gapingvoid) […]

  20. flag
    Paul Walsh  Paul Walsh said...

    @Tony C (lol) given that Microsoft is the best ‘second mover’ in the world, it’s hardly surprising that something better will spring up. Perhaps MS will then do the buying. I agree that we’ll end up with something better down the line and by then, I’m sure they’ll be a way of exporting data and people. Lord knows I could have written a book on ‘how’ Facebook can be used for marketing purposes, not just fun ways to connect.

    @Dennis – re blogging in FB, I agree. I tend to write a note if I want to highlight something – even though my blog RSS feed comes in, writing notes raises to the top of the pile. Facebook see themselves (from what I hear from Accel and from what I already assumed) as a ‘technology provider/enabler’. This is why I’ve never compared FB with say, Beebo. Beebo is a Web site. Facebook is a technology/platform that pulls lots of shit together in one area.

  21. flag
    Paul Walsh  Paul Walsh said...

    @Michael – love your last paragraph, very well put indeed. As I mentioned in my last post, ‘2.0’ in the context of Facebook isn’t about a two-way technology. It’s a two-way dialog, which is enabled by cool technology. The technology itself doesn’t necessarily need to be two-way. If this doesn’t make sense then perhaps a previous post may explain the method behind my madness

  22. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Neil Ford » Blog Archive » Facebook: An irresistible force? said...

    […] ETA: Paul Walsh says Please, no more LinkedIn invites, in which he details his reasons for moving from LinkedIn to Facebook for his professional contacts. Thanks to Hugh Macleod for the pointer to this article. […]

  23. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Liam Lowe said...

    Think you have to catch up with yourself – Linkedin button features prominently on your segala profile but not FB!

    Don’t know much about either but hate the login/password obstacle each time I click a FB link. I have a Brendan approach to websites that demand password accesss to view an article/profile. Don’t visit them.

  24. flag
    Paul Walsh  Paul Walsh said...

    @Liam – you’re absolutely right – we’re useless at updating our own site. In fact, there are a few members of staff missing from the profiles page and some people don’t have profiles attached to their names. So, plenty to update! 🙂

    You need to be registered on FB before you’re permitted access.

  25. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Eric Searing said...

    Facebook, twitter, myspace, personal blogs, RSS Feeds, yada yada yada….

    I find all of these social networks almost as distracting as the hundreds of SEO and Blog Marketing websites I’m supposed to visit. None of them have added any revenue to my business and may have even cost me opportunities.
    Possible exception of business blogs.

    I guess we have moved beyond the information age to the distraction soundbyte marketing age. I’ll bet the internet markerters are already writing their $49 ebooks on how to get rich using arbitrage ads on facebook RSS feeds.

  26. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Development in a Blink » Blog Archive » Facebook - a discrete marketing tool said...

    […] Paul Walsh makes interesting points. LinkedIn is rowing while Facebook powers by with outboard motors. […]

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    […] Reaction to Hugh’s article where he links to Paul Walsh’s little plea to not have anymore LinkedIn invites, includes a comment by an anonymous blogger at Hugh’s site which sums it up the rumpus very nicely for me: myspace, twitter, facebook, etc? […]

  29. flag
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  30. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Michael Flanagan » To the Facebook, Batman! said...

    […] As others have been saying recently, Facebook is a bit of a step-up from other social networking sites like MySpace, LinkedIN and Bebo. It’s certainly the first one I’ve tried which has impressed, rather than annoyed, me from the outset. It’s better looking and friendlier than MySpace, less confusing than LinkedIN, and much more accepting of ‘life outside the borders’ than Bebo – I’ve already got it syndicating my Blog and Twitter posts (you can now read them both via my Facebook profile) and there’s plenty more available through third-party plug-in Applications. […]

  31. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Nielle said...

    Interesting that you have widgets to add this article to but not Facebook! 🙂

  32. flag
    Paul Walsh  Paul Walsh said...

    @Nielle – where can I find out? 😉

  33. flag
    Paul Walsh  Paul Walsh said...

    @Nielle – sorry, just realised that the RSS feed is already being fed into Facebook. That’s why some posts don’t receive comments – people tend to also engage via Facebook. Personally I don’t mind where the conversation takes place as long as I can take part.

  34. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  alan p said...

    Paul…just be sure you understand the T&C of Facebook… for reference we blogged it here on broadstuff

  35. flag
    Paul Walsh  Paul Walsh said...

    Alan – your observation on your blog regarding “just whose stuff is this” is spot on. I’m not sure if it was you, but someone brought this to my attention within the past week or so. It’s not surprising though, it’s a bit like how YouTube works – hence why we use for video stuff.

    BTW, I’m almost finished a post to reiterate my motivation behind the posts – it’s about digital marketing and not technology driven.

    Point well spotted – I’m not sure many people will realise it.

  36. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  When there are too much it’s too much « Le fil…the Blog said...

    […] There are many discussions regarding social network tools… Paul Walsh said: “no more Linkedin, Facebook me…”. I did it, he said “Do I know you?”. Rodrigo, Gonzague are Kings for Twitting… […]

  37. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Networking with Facebook and Linked In said...

    […] says that LinkedIn is over, but that is where my first invite came from. According to my email address book, I am in contact from time to time with quite a few members. […]

  38. flag
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    […] Google and Yahoo enter social media with Socialstream and Mosh 25Jul07 The dynamic world of social media is fascinating me at the moment. It seems that not a day goes by without a new entrant to the market, a debate regarding whether x is better than y or a huge discussion trying to sort out a way of calculating who is really important in the online world. […]

  39. flag
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1  Can you trust Facebook? (part 2) said...

    […] What this all boils down to is that you could have contracted yourself out of a claim against Facebook if some sensitive information you published on Facebook (privately or publicly) is passed on to a third party. The outrage about people’s inboxes being swapped around as a result of a hack or maintenance glitch simply don’t translate into an actionable claim against Facebook that that means you have to be careful about what you publish on Facebook. A number of people have seen the potential value of Facebook for business users (I have tended to agree with them lately) but this most recent issue casts some doubt over whether Facebook is the best platform for potentially sensitive communications. The same could be said for your personal communications. […]

  40. flag
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    […] isn’t a business networking tool. I remember having a conversation with Paul Walsh when he declared he was quitting LinkedIn in favour of Facebook. I didn’t agree with him and insisted that LinkedIn was a superior platform for business […]

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