Rupert Murdoch’s companies have, typically, been among the most forward thinking of the old media companies at getting the ideas of new media. People thought Fox was crazy when he plunked down almost $600 million for MySpace. That purchase now seems underpriced, given where Fox is taking the site — looking to expand it into music sales, film and television promotion, and a host of other social networking tools.
So it was a tad surprising to read in today’s Wall Street Journal, in an article by Rebecca Buckman about LinkedIn’s funding of $53 million by a a group of venture capital funds. In doing so, they gave the company a valuation of one billion dollars — not bad.
But here’s the quote that piqued my interest from the second paragraph.
The investment comes as rival Facebook Inc., a site that originally targeted college students, has been attracting older users, leading to speculation that Facebook — like LinkedIn — could become a destination for professionals hoping to make new contacts, recruit employees or find experts in certain fields.
I want to emphasize the word “could” in that graf.
I think that the transition has already happened. And though Facebook users may skew younger than LinkedIn’s (CPM Advisors reported in February that Facebook’s average age was about 23 — though that has probably risen, LinkedIn reports theirs as 41), who said that younger business people aren’t valuable as well. I don’t know anybody who’s gotten work as a result of a LinkedIn reference, I know many who get job offers from Facebook. Ironically, I know plenty of people who have accounts on both. Most of them use Facebook more often.
So, the idea that Facebook COULD become a place for business connections is already way out of date, and was probably out of date as soon as they opened up their membership to people outside of school. People use is for job hunting, house hunting, staying in touch, food hunting (though I prefer Yelp) and more.
Social networking does work. Online social networking does work. And, Facebook, way more so than MySpace, is providing value
[As an aside, I continue to use Digg and StumbleUpon and other bookmarking social networks to find connection. It’s a great way to see people with similar interests — not unlike the way Like works with music.]