On a panel at the TechCrunch disrupt conference today, the topic of co-existing online networks came up, as it should have, considering LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman was on stage.
Clearly, Facebook is the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to the broader "social network" category. And certainly it's stolen the spotlight from MySpace among younger the demographics. But what about LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals that's not really so social but tends to fall into that category?
LinkedIn and Facebook are different properties that have different targets and different uses, Hoffman said.
LinkedIn is where we spend our professional lives, networking with potential customers, sources and other business-related contacts to advance ourselves and our businesses. Facebook is the place where we share photos of the family vacation or play social games like Farmville.
Those are two very different experiences, Hoffman said.
Techcrunch's Michael Arrington, who moderated the panel, said that makes about as much sense to him as buying two cars - one for work and one for weekend fun.
Hoffman didn't really address Arrington's analogy other than to say that the truth was in the numbers. The site continues to grow and the numbers get better every month.
Is Facebook trying to tap into that business use market? Sure. But Hoffman said that, while Facebook is a great company, it has yet to pull off something that LinkedIn could learn from. That's not to say that it won't but, for now, the two offer different sets of value propositions.
What do you think? Can both Facebook and LinkedIn co-exist?
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