Monday, July 11, 2011

(empo-tuulwey) No, Google+ did not just kill LinkedIn

When a shiny new toy comes along, many people initially get excited about the shiny new toy. Even if the S.N.T. doesn't immediately offer everything that you want, the S.N.T. obviously has potential, and that new electric car is bound to include a bacon fryer Real Soon Now.

And the shiny new toy does not only promise to obliterate its immediate competition, but it creates a PARADIGM SHIFT that renders everything else obsolete. Take, for example, the way in which all of the major media companies immediately filed for bankruptcy after version 1.0 gave power to music-making individuals (like Ontario Emperor). Once appeared, the EMIs and BMGs of the world all disappeared, and no one even remembers them today...what, they didn't die? Oops, my bad.

Which brings us to Google+. There is a vocal minority of people that believe that Mark Zuckerberg should close up shop right now. After all, even Facebook's newly introduced video features don't allow you to have ten people in a chat. Google+ is therefore five times better than Facebook, which means that it will have five times 750 million users within months, and will increase its user base exponentially after that. Once Google+ reaches 50 billion users, can Facebook even compete?

Yes, that is the type of thinking that you can find in some circles.

Wait, it gets better. Google+ has not only doomed Facebook, but has also doomed LinkedIn:

It seems to me that Google+, from my initial tinkerings, may actually lend itself better to the professional social world than to the consumer one. For that reason, I’m going to posit that LinkedIn may well be quivering in its little post-IPO boots.

And why should LinkedIn be quivering? Because they have not advanced their platform at any meaningful level.

How do we know that LinkedIn has not advanced at any meaningful level? Look at Google+!

LinkedIn doesn’t have any integrated real-time chat facility, something that’s surely vital these days for any social network? Facebook and Google are both striving to make all social activity take place within the platform, with LinkedIn there’s still too much third-party platforms required to properly network.

There's an issue here - you can't do everything you want in LinkedIn - and one big assumption - that LinkedIn is a social network like any other social network.


Remember that there are business and consumer users of products. Just like certain web browsers are better for business use while others are better for consumer use, you can say the same thing about social networks.
  • Facebook is primary for consumer use, although there are obviously some consumer-business interactions taking place on Facebook also. However, there are very few business-business communications on Facebook, although they conceivably could happen for small companies (IBM is not about to adopt Facebook for inter-office communication).

  • Google+ is still in its infancy, but once it rolls out business support, Google+ has the potential for offering all types of communication - consumer, consumer-to-business, and business. Google+ is pretty much a general-purpose toolkit - not the best tool for every job, but a pretty good tool for a lot of jobs.

  • Unlike the other two networks listed above, LinkedIn is a business network. The end. I'm not going to go to the Procter & Gamble page on LinkedIn to get grocery store coupons.

No, LinkedIn does not have real-time chat. And LinkedIn does not have any built-in videoconferencing - I'll grant that videoconferencing might be a good way to expand. But LinkedIn does have my resume. A Google profile isn't really suited to contain a resume, and on Facebook I have to use the third-party service BranchOut to include my resume.

LinkedIn does not do everything, but it is very good at what it does - keep my resume, maintain business references, and maintain business contacts. Google+ can be tweaked to do some of this stuff, but using a Google+ profile for a resume is substandard, and using a Google+ profile for references is not recommended.

Now for all I know, Google may be working on "Google Resume" in its labs, and once that gets rolled out, it can be integrated with Google+ and Google Voice and everything else to provide you with a stellar business application.

But before assuming that Google Resume (if it exists) will put LinkedIn out of business, remember that everything that Google touches does not turn to gold. In fact, in the same way that you have a vocal minority loudly proclaiming that Google+ renders the entire universe obsolete, you have another vocal minority that is loudly proclaiming that Google+ will be a failure, just like several Google social media attempts before it.

So I'm not trashing my LinkedIn profile just yet.

Then again, consider the source - I haven't trashed my MySpace profile either.
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