While users can't decide if Facebook should be used for announcing what they're having for dinner (let me go ahead and offer a firm no on that one) or passive-aggressively insulting their in-laws, LinkedIn users are surprisingly loyal to the business interaction principle.
Facebook can be fun, don't get me wrong. But it can also be a little disconcerting when you write about your grueling work schedule and your boss responds with a smiley face. After foraging around in Facebook for any length of time, going to LinkedIn is like walking into a cocktail party with all the co-workers you like. You rarely see the LinkedIn premise misused. Sure, there's the occasional request for a recommendation from a former colleague you barely even remember, but for the most part, it's a helpful site.
When I get recommendations of "people you may know," it so happens that they are actually people I'm glad I know and would be interested in being formally connected to. With Facebook, 9 times out of 10 the friend suggestions make me want to seek a restraining order.LinkedIn lists job openings for me, offers suggestions for professional groups I might want to join, and even gives me a reading list. (See Figure A.) I love sites that do the thinking for me. On the other hand, Facebook offers me a mechanism by which to discern what breed of cat I would be.
If you're serious about your career, you should put your social networking efforts into LinkedIn.
Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.