Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
June 25, 2008 6:53 PM

Facebook Is The Past, MySpace Is The Present And LinkedIn Is The Future - A Different Perspective On Online Social Networks

My guess is you read that Blog posting headline and assumed it to mean that Facebook is over for the masses, MySpace is back en vogue and the future of online social networks belongs to LinkedIn.

Not at all.

In my journeys (and this includes feedback I get on this Six Pixels of Separation Blog and Podcast or in speaking or with clients), I'm frequently asked if I think Facebook can continue to grow or will some other kind of online social network come around that will make us all jump ship? (it's a whole other Blog posting for another day).

It got me thinking about why we use these online social networks, what they mean and how they fit in to our everyday lives... and this light went off:

Facebook is wildly popular right now and - although I don't really use it for this particular use - most people do use it to stay connected with old friends and family members, or to meet up with people they haven't seen in a long while (how many people you knew in high school try to connect with you via Facebook on a daily basis?).

My guess is that most people floating around MySpace use it to stay current. They hop around people's MySpace profiles to be up-to-date on who's doing what in art, music, culture, literature, parties, meet-ups, etc... If you're hip, with it and "now"... you hang out and play on MySpace.

LinkedIn is all about building your professional stature. It's all about making the right connections, so that your future can be brighter than your past. LinkedIn is all about establishing initial contact, building that trust over time and being able to connect to those business people more effectively in the future.

It's the "perfect storm" for online social networking, isn't it? You have a place to stay connected (and find) family and friends, a place to hang out that keeps you "in the loop" and a place to connect with those who can help propel your career forward.

Each one has its own merit and value. While an individual's interest and attention may shift from one to another, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn each provide their own, special network depending on if you're focused on the past, present or future.

(sidebar: I'm sure you read last week that LinkedIn got an investment of over fifty million dollars, which gives it a valuation of one billion dollars? read more about that here: MarketWatch - LinkedIn Raises $53 Million In VC Funding).

By Mitch Joel