I’ve been a big LinkedIn fan in the two years or so that I’ve been using it, but there’s a couple of things that really bother me about it. First, until recently, you couldn’t remove someone from your list of contacts, you had to email LinkedIn customer support to make it happen. It happened pretty quickly, but I wonder how many contacts were left languishing on lists because most people are too busy/lazy to email and have them taken off. The second thing is the completely opaque process that you have to go through to start a LinkedIn group. Members of the Toronto BarCamp community, also known as TorCamp, have very active online lives, and many of them are on my LinkedIn contact list. I thought that a LinkedIn TorCamp group would be a great idea, and when someone told me that they had tried and were turned down, I figured that I could do better, and I applied on the LinkedIn site to start a (free) TorCamp group (I point out the free part because I suspect that the paid groups might be given much better service). A long wait ensued, then I received an email telling me that some information was missing, and that I should reapply. I did, and now (months later), still nothing. I’ve given up on LinkedIn groups; they’re just too damned hard, and social networking should make it easy to connect, not hard.
Facebook, on the other hand, is being seen as a replacement for LinkedIn by many, and although I’ve primarily been using LinkedIn for professional/business contacts and Facebook for personal contacts, there’s been quite a bit of crossover with business contacts finding me and inviting me to be their Facebook friend.
Ever since Facebook opened up its platform a few weeks back for developers to create add-on applications, it looks like it might sweep the popularity contest, especially if LinkedIn stays with the walled garden/not-so-social network philosophy. In Toronto, which held the record for the biggest number of Facebook users until London overtook it last week, we’re even having a Facebook Camp.