My friend Tim fired off a cranky tweet this morning — and I agree with it wholeheartedly. Four ways Facebook and LinkedIn are different:
- LinkedIn is specifically for business relationships; for the most part, your friends on Facebook aren’t there to do business.
- A person’s LinkedIn profile is their resume. A person’s Facebook profile often tells you far less about the person professionally, and more about them personally.
- We connect to people on LinkedIn to improve our careers, to endorse others with whom we do business and to seek new opportunities. We connect with people on Facebook to find out if that guy we went to high school with is still hot. (Pro tip: he’s not.)
- Facebook calls connections “friends” which is amusing and mislabeled. I’m not really friends with most of the people I’ve “friended” on Facebook. LinkedIn connections, however, should be held to a higher standard; it will happen you will be the link between person A and person B and if person A asks you for a reference regarding person B, you don’t want to say, “I don’t really know them.”
So don’t go accepting all those offers to connect on LinkedIn willy-nilly, you dope. Make sure they’re people with whom you actually have a relationship you can reference.
Sound advice from our favorite curmudgeon, Tim! Love the way you integrated the symbols to express your displeasure with social media dweeb-age. Tres creative!
Held to a higher standard? The whole point of social media is to connect. If you limit yourself to people you’ve actually done business with, you’re closing countless doors to potential business relationships. Obviously it would be unwise to look up someone randomly and try to connect with them, but if I’ve met someone–even if not work-related–you better believe I might ask to connect with them on LinkedIn. This is a great networking tool! And I don’t mind saying, “I don’t really know them,” though I would phrase it differently. I’ve been asked similar questions quite frequently because people know we share a common past employer or work in the same industry. I give the same answer, but explain what I do know about them or point them in the direction of someone (credible!) who knows them and their work. That’s LinkedIn! The key is your point about there being different purposes for LinkedIn and Facebook, not different standards.