I talked to LinkedIn founder and Chairman Reid Hoffman on Friday at the Supernova 2007 conference about Facebook’s rapid growth and potential incursion into his territory. He told me that over next 9 months LinkedIn would deliver APIs for developers, ostensibly to make it more of platform like Facebook, and create a way for users who spend more time socially in Facebook to get LlinkedIn notifications.
Since Facebook opened their platform almost a month ago, I have been receiving the majority of my professional contact requests through Facebook and not LinkedIn. I have read others around the blogosphere that are experiencing the same phenomenon. As this occurs, LinkedIn is going to have to take some sort of action that keeps them in the game. This may be it. Enabling developers to build applications for their network would be huge, but they would also have to be cautious when launching a developer platform. LinkedIn is known for its absence of distractions within profiles. If they opened their platform, individuals’ profiles could rapidly become cluttered with excess features. As a result LinkedIn would need an effective application filtering process that only allows value-added applications to their platform. While this is currently an unverified source, it makes a lot of sense.
Virtually everyone I know in LinkedIn is just a passive user…it isn’t a hastle to say yes to requests but what do “with it” almost nothing besides browse around occasionally. Facebook is actually useful and lets me see what my network is up to. Imagine if all LinkedIn did was let me see my entire network’s latest blog posts.