Network Vs. Identity II

Five months ago I wrote a blog about providing a service with a network and an identity and the relationship between the two (read blog Network Vs. Identity). In the ensuing months, there have been of course some changes in the services offered by the social media giants LinkedIn and Facebook. LinkedIn has made strides in developing a more in-depth profile and had a press release in mid-October to discuss the new features. On the network side, they added a new interface where your skills can be endorsed by your connections and their endorsements can be displayed as part of your profile. Facebook released company pages and their timeline application has hit mainstream.

Another interesting dimension is how users perceive these services as professional or personal in context. It is clear that LinkedIn is strictly for professional content; however, it is less clear with Facebook. The number of Facebook to LinkedIn users is about 6 to 1, so professionals use Facebook posts to effectively reach the masses (stat comes from numbers represented on the map). For example, if you wrote an article, you would want to create a Facebook Like and Share to get it out to the public.

I created a map to show how these different relationships interplay. I used my own interpretations in placing these different services; however, to get a better more accurate interpretation, I designed a survey where you can provide your own insights: Survey.

Network-Identity, Professional-Personal Map
Network-Identity, Professional-Personal Map

As we build our professional website service from an identity, we need to understand how our identity can be used by networks such as those built by LinkedIn and Facebook. Our approach is providing you with a personal website where you can brand yourself, and establish your professional identity across various networks. The same premise holds from the previous blog that it remains difficult to manage your identity across all these profiles and the best solution might be to link back to your professional website as a landing page for each of them. Of course, the profiles are getting better; but I would compare it to how companies use their company pages. Are companies going to abandon their own websites and branding for a company page on Facebook or LinkedIn? Probably not.

One other distinction with the placement of our service on the map is that we are not all the way professional (to the left). As we develop the concept of a professional website, we plan to explore ways to incorporate personal elements into our service – by perhaps creating a clear delineation such as a sub-domain or letting you use your discretion for what is appropriate on your professional website. An example of something personal you want to share on your website could be a gallery of images from a trip you went on recently.

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