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article imageOp-Ed: Twitter vs. LinkedIn, and LinkedIn winning? It's happening

By Paul Wallis     Sep 25, 2012 in Internet
Sydney - In July, Twitter decided it wasn’t going to post tweets that automatically went to LinkedIn. It’s now looking like there’s a split of interests, at least among LinkedIn users.
As a market study, this is fascinating, but for the net, it may be the beginning of something much bigger. I'm not too thrilled about the Twitter decision myself. I used to have a profile page covered in my latest articles and other online stuff, and now it looks like a sort of classifieds section. Gamified banners? Visual recognition app? Wow, stop by my profile and really see the top of the range at work... Not impressed, at all. After all, this is what I do for a living, and those Tweets were very relevant to my LinkedIn profile on that basis.
By denying Linkedin users the ability to post tweets to LinkedIn, Twitter has forced users to make a choice. Do I post to LinkedIn (where I can also check a box to tweet)? Or do I do both? The choice is easy.
The forced change is more fundamental. Your audience on LinkedIn is made up of people you have met in your working life together with other industry people that might catch your post. Your audience on Twitter could be just about anyone and more than likely it is people you have not met.
It is therefore far more valuable for a user to post on LinkedIn as people that have a connection to them are much more likely to read their post.
(Appropriately enough, I found this on my own LinkedIn news feed.)
That’s sort of right. There’s another issue here. LinkedIn networks tend to be people who have common interests. LinkedIn as a whole is much more business-oriented, and is used by those who are actively engaged with the site for business reasons. Twitter is a browse-type experience. You tend to look for the things that catch your interest, and the people posting are more or less anonymous unless you’re following them or they’re following you.
This is a big market differential. Core news for users, or browsing news? Twitter’s market reach is gigantic, where LinkedIn’s is defined by a much smaller, but far more engaged type of user. LinkedIn news is also provided by email, whereas Twitter is very much of the moment. You can’t usually go back and look at most tweets when you’ve got the time.
The typical internet usage process goes something like this:
There’s a general site which provides for example 100 new bits of information or activity per day.
The site escalates up to 500 of these things per day.
Some part of the site attracts a core following which then specializes in a specific area of information or activity.
The core group splits off, or a new specialized, interest-based site springs up.
This has been happening since the days of the first blogs. The early blog types were soon replaced by specialized blogs. Realizing that targeting the world was both too much work and rather ridiculous, the bloggers also focused on subject expertise.
LinkedIn news isn’t exactly a blog, but it does serve a very wide audience with specific common areas of interest. LinkedIn users are tracking down information of interest within their groups and using it where it’s an appropriate feed to a good target audience.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see similar things happening on a wider scale in mainstream media. Actually it’s no different from sections in a newspaper, but the ability to target interest groups is a seller, and probably a big seller. The way sport is divided into very different coverage types could easily translate into news updates in the same way as Twitter.
So- Are we on the verge of seeing micro-Twitters all over the place? Or is the LinkedIn experience the more likely macro version, applicable to social networks and media segments of the market?
I’d say both. Yammer has just proved that selective and highly efficient internal communications can deliver a huge amount of information continuously, like Twitter. These small-scale social networks are often extremely active, and news feeds are a natural inclusion in them.
LinkedIn isn’t designed to beat Twitter at its own game, but it’s doing a good job of being a credible competitor from a much smaller user base. LinkedIn isn’t Facebook, but it’s a sort of relative in many ways in terms of roles it can play online. As for market positioning, LinkedIn is in a very strong position with a clear picture of the values of its news to its users. That’s “targeting by default”, but it can obviously work, and work well, on any scale.
Twitter has searches to find areas of interest, but is that really enough? Would a Twitter Business service be more appropriate? What about sport, news and the other industries? Where should they draw the lines?
Looks like we’re about to see a new phase in the social media phenomenon, either way. LinkedIn has proven the value of a network linking system as a viable option. It’ll be interesting to see how this evolves.
I was still irritated by the no-Tweets situation after looking at my LinkedIn profile. So I did something about it- Connected my Sydney Media Jam blog to it. This is the new LinkedIn profile page The WordPress app, for some reason, puts the blog stuff at the bottom of the page, not on the right, where it'd look better, but at least it's there. Still not too picturesque, could use more visuals, but at least it keeps people up to date with what I'm doing, which right now is a lot.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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