Roger Cohen, The Quest to Belong
Next year’s Thanksgiving grace.
I was surprised by the results of a recent Wall Street Journal survey. While 60% of small business owners said social media tools are valuable to company growth, Linkedin was highest rated and Twitter came in a distant third.
My sense is that using Twitter to simply post information is a weak approach. […] It can’t be used as a simple broadcast, or as a replacement for radio ads or coupons.
A better characterization might be that small business owners find LinkedIn a good resource because it matches the way they currently do marketing, which isn’t very social yet.
Go read the whole piece if you like.
I am completely in awe of the new Vizify app, which is a really well-designed ‘graphical bio’ app, drawing upon information in LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare, and Facebook, and additional information from the user.
Vizifydoesn’t introduce any brand-new user experience trick. Instead, the designers brought together some of the best design thinking to what might otherwise be a fairly boring listing of dates, jobs, cities, and tweets (I mean, think about how LinkedIn presents a profile).
Feast your eyes.
Here’s my profile page:
Note that all the nodes in the graph are selectable, and clicking on them opens the respective section of the multipart bio.
LinkedIn has done a dramatic facelift of the user experience on the popular site. Much more clean and modern. It will be rolling out to users over the next short while (I am still seeing the old UX, personally.)
I will have to spend some time there, though, to see if anything fundamental is being rejiggered. This reworking is likely to feature in a project of mine later this fall (announcement later this week).
(via Caroline Gaffney, Introducing a Simpler Homepage)
Di Fiore suppors the premise that LinkedIn helps us make use of weak ties, but suggests that the mediation of LinkedIn can also decrease the friction that can arise when asking a strong tie for a favor:
Alessandro Di Fiore via Harvard Business Review
On-line professional networks are successful around the world. In cultures like the US where people are comfortable transacting with strangers you might expect that. But why are these networks also popular in countries like Spain and Italy where business is kept inside friends and family? It is difficult to imagine that you can enter into those circles by posting a well designed profile on your LinkedIn page.
There are two explanations, I think. First and more obvious, social media can help you create weak links. Someone you make a brief acquaintance with and whom you might easily have lost touch with can be kept in your circle thanks to social media. And the possibility also remains for you to turn that weak link into a strong one. Before LinkedIn and other professional networks came on the scene it was just too costly in terms of time and mental focus to update, communicate, keep alive weak tie relationships. “We will stay in touch …” is easy to say but very hard to do. The impact of on-line professional networks on weak relationships is terrific because they let you exploit this “untapped” reserve of Social Capital.
The second explanation, I think, is that social media — contrary to common belief — allows you to better manage also your strong links. Picking up a phone or visiting someone in person puts you and them on the spot and consumes a lot of Social Capital. If you’re asking a friend for a favor personally it is very hard for that person to feel that they can say no. They may resent you for asking. It can be hard to ask as well; many people don’t ask friends to help because they are too proud. But if you ask your close friend a favor through Facebook or LinkedIn it signals to the person you’re approaching that you do not regard help in this case as a test of the relationship, which instantly reduces the tension for both sides.
By choosing LinkedIn instead of a direct call or a visit, the initiator signals that the request is a small favor, one to be handled in a spare moment and only if it doesn’t cause any great effort. This avoids using too much social capital, Di Fiore argues.
Jon Mitchell via RWW
LinkedIn has launched status updates from companies. Administrators of company pages can post short updates just like individual users can. This provides companies with a way to engage followers and start conversations from within the public LinkedIn stream.
Users of LinkedIn could follow company profiles since 2010. Previously, users following a company would see personnel changes, new job openings and company profile updates. Now companies can also share 500-character messages, links and media with followers as well.
I wonder if this portends a step closer toward real federation of work on LinkedIn? Will LinkedIn move toward a work media implementation?
I took a fast walk through Zerply, which seems like a lightweight alternative to LinkedIn. Think of it as micro-professional-networking.
Social networks do best when they tap into one of the seven deadly sins. Facebook is ego. Zynga is sloth. LinkedIn is greed.
Doesn’t include Twitter, which is envy? Pride? Lust?
Beginning with Linkedin, the popular business networking site’s success should not come as a complete shock following its blistering May 19th IPO. Others can debate the merits of the company’s current valuation, but I will simply point out that there is definite underlying strength in Linkedin’s user adoption curve at the moment. In fact, it has reached all-time U.S. audience highs in 7 of the past 12 months and has grown 58 overall percent in the past year. As Linkedin continues its evolution from being an online business rolodex to a more social and interactive content experience, it will be interesting to see if its rapid visitor growth is accompanied by a surge in user engagement.
Twitter.com also had a particularly strong month in May with 27 million U.S. visitors, representing an increase of 13 percent in the past year. (Note: while much of Twitter’s usage occurs away from the Twitter.com site, past comScore research has indicated that approximately 85-90% of Twitter users visit the website each month). Twitter’s success in May can likely be attributed in part to the exceptionally buzzworthy news story of Osama Bin Laden’s death, as well as ongoing discussion of the Royal Wedding.
Also not to be overlooked is social blogging site Tumblr, which has made some noise this year and become a serious player in the social networking category. The site has grown an impressive 166% in the past year, reaching 10.7 million visitors in May, its first month ever surpassing the 10 million visitor mark. Tumblr is clearly experiencing a viral adoption curve right now and may be nearing that point at which other social media sites begin have reached that critical mass threshold that propels it to more widespread adoption. It still has a ways to go before we can mention it in the same breath as Linkedin or Twitter, but it just might get there if it maintains its current trajectory.
Tumblr has doubled its monthly uniques in a year, while Twitter and LinkedIn are growing more gradually, but still moving fast.
Comscore also displayed a graph showing Facebook and Myspace, implying that the defecting Myspace users were moving to Facebook. Considering the wave of musical types flooding into Tumblr, I bet it is more a factor in Tumblr’s growth.
Henry Blodgett via
The bottom line is that LinkedIn is a real company with a huge opportunity, and no one knows what the stock is worth. There are scenarios in which the stock will deliver a nice return from this level. There are also (many) scenarios in which LinkedIn will deliver a lousy return from this level—or, worse, incinerate 75% or more of investors’ capital.
Personally, I would not touch LinkedIn’s stock at this level, because I think the risk is too high. The potential upside, in my opinion, just isn’t compelling enough to offset the potential downside. (Some smart investors disagree with me, though, and are hanging on to the stock. And that’s what makes a market.)
But that’s very different than thinking the valuation is “insane.”
My bet is that social tools — like LinkedIn and Twitter — will turn out to be the best bet over the next few years. Note that operating systems — like iOS — are becoming social tools. Facebook is a special case, because it has grown so far, and is threatened by the emergence of social operating systems: an AOL crash in the making.
[disclosure: I am an active investor in Apple, and I have shares in LinkedIn, as well.]
— Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, Why Google Should Buy LinkedIn Now, Before It’s Too Late
I completely buy this argument. Go read the whole piece.