Social Profiles

Edison Research, Learning to Love LinkedIn:

That means, of course, that 69% of LinkedIn users do not use Twitter, so they didn’t read your awesome tweet. That’s millions of Americans who are willing to engage with others online, willing to put their profile information on display, and who spend at least some time each week “social networking” but who are not engaged (and perhaps not even interested) in “tweeting.”

What’s most interesting to me is the way the survey question is framed: Facebook and LinkedIn users are asked if they “have a profile,” while Twitter users are asked if they “ever use” the service. As I tried to allude to in the comments, LinkedIn needs you to do more than just “have a profile” on the service. It needs the profile to be active and up to date, even if you’re not actively hunting for a job. This is likely why they’ve introduced features like endorsements and are ramping up their news strategy with the purchase of Pulse. These features give you a reason to keep coming back to LinkedIn every day and, hopefully, keep your profile up to date.

Why does LinkedIn care if your profile is up to date? Because LinkedIn’s real customers are recruiters, who pay for premium accounts. If the profile data goes stale, then the recruiters will start looking elsewhere. I’m sure the rise of Twitter resumes has LinkedIn a bit spooked in this regard.

In some ways, LinkedIn and Facebook are similar in this respect. Remember when Facebook announced OpenGraph and everyone thought it would make a killer dating service? The problem is the quality of the profile data:

“If I asked you what your favorite movies are and went to your movies section on Facebook, I don’t think they would match up. On OkCupid, people curate their profiles with a scalpel.”

And that’s true as far as the traditional Facbook profile stuff goes. But one of the great things about Facebook Timeline is that it turns profile maintenance into a passive act. Check in somewhere, upload a photo, like something: all of these things will have the effect of keeping your interests and activities up to date without you ever having to click “Edit Profile.” I’d expect LinkedIn to do something similar, and I think endorsements are a first step in the direction of passive or croudsourced profile curation.