Facebook vs. LinkedIn for accounting professionals

Which nascent social network does it better for work-related connections?

Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them.

LinkedIn is an online network of experienced professionals from around the world, representing 130 industries.

By their own definitions, these two utilities target slightly different types of users. Facebook of course began at Harvard and then expanded to other universities and colleges, and then opened itself up to everyone else. LinkedIn is open to everyone, but is tightly focused on where you work or have worked, not where you live or went to school.

Because of LinkedIn’s focus, it’s easy to connect with current and former colleagues. You fill in your details and LinkedIn does the rest, providing a list of people registered on the site who have the same employer(s) listed.

On Facebook, where you live, where you went to school, and where you work are called “networks”. I’m in the Toronto and Brock University networks. But the problem with Facebook is that it is limited in terms of workplace networks.

Right now, my firm isn’t on Facebook, so I can’t join that particular network since it doesn’t exist. Facebook does provide a way to suggest new networks, but so far the suggestion I’ve made to add my firm has gone ignored.

The problem for me (and no doubt others) with LinkedIn is that there just isn’t as many people I know on it as Facebook. I have over a hundred friends on Facebook, and I have 3 “connections” on LinkedIn. Clearly for me Facebook is the better tool.

And there are ways to network using Facebook even if your employer isn’t available. Anyone can start a group on Facebook for any reason (no matter how spurious), and there are many related to jobs. For instance:

As well, there are groups aimed at the profession:

I think what’s interesting about these groups is they’re started and populated by the young people in those firms. As they progress within their firms and take on more responsibility for things like hiring, Facebook may become even more important for job seekers.

Both networks provide value to their users, that much is clear. I wish I had more contacts on LinkedIn, so that the value of the site to me was higher, but that will just take time. As more of my colleagues learn about LinkedIn, it will grow.

As far as features go, LinkedIn trumps Facebook. But for pure numbers and flexibility, Facebook wins out.

What do you think?


Microsoft plunges into social networks with accounting and finance site

This is probably the type of thing I should be blogging about. The phrase “right in my wheelhouse” comes to mind. The intersection of several of my favourite things: accounting, technology, and social networks.

Microsoft Dynamics logoMicrosoft has announced a new “community” around Dynamics Live specifically for accounting and finance professionals. The site isn’t named yet but if you join now you can participate in the poll to rename it and vote for any of three uninspiring names: Capital Chat, Finance Forum, or Net Knowledge.

I joined up, the better to assess its chances at gaining a foothold in a rapidly evolving sphere.

Networks are only as good as their users, and LinkedIn already has a bundle of them. I wonder whether another network focused on this demographic, even if its further specializes at first in accounting and finance, can really offer something new.

Microsoft is planning to advertise the community through their Dynamics product, but the community may be perceived to be advertising for their other products.

I’ve read that Dynamics has respectable market penetration, and personal experience bears that out as several clients I personally work with use it. If Microsoft can harness their current users into producing quality content for the community, they may hold the key to attracting new users.

What do you think?