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Cautiously Optimistic

Social media for better communication and a better life

Facebook’s BranchOut App Turns Up the Heat on LinkedIn

with one comment

BranchOutMuch like McDonald’s old McDLT sandwich packaging tried to “keep the hot side hot and the cool side cool” by separating the fresh-off-the grill hamburger patty from the fresh-from-the fridge tomato and lettuce, social media users frequently try to keep their public identity and activities public and their private identity and activities private by using multiple social media platforms.

This desire to curate or control how our different publics see us is one of the reasons that career-oriented social media sites such as LinkedIn have flourished even as Facebook pursues its ambition to be the world’s one-stop social media destination.

Facebook’s response to upstart competitors usually takes one of two forms: it buys the company or it creates very similar functionality and then kills the competitor because of its huge existing user base that other sites or services cannot overcome.

We saw Facebook in buyout mode recently when it announced it was purchasing the photo retouching and sharing company Instagram. Now we may be seeing Facebook in “kill the competitor” mode with its launch of BranchOut, the professional networking app that draws data from existing Facebook profiles to connect people in similar industries.

This presents a danger for LinkedIn. Even though it had the “first-mover advantage” in growing the professional social media niche, the Facebook juggernaut has the ability to dwarf LinkedIn’s network, given time. This Mashable article by Sarah Kessler states that while BranchOut currently has only 25 million registered users, as compared to LinkedIn’s 150 million users, BranchOut has access to the full 845 million Facebook accounts around the world.

I would imagine that LinkedIn’s leadership team is working to avoid the fate of the McDLT, which was eventually discontinued along with its innovative packaging. Only time will tell if Facebook’s “all things to all people” recipe for success will win in the end.

Follow me on Twitter at @charlesprimm.

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Written by Charles Primm

April 20, 2012 at 9:26 pm

One Response

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  1. as facebook continues to carve out its place as the one-stop social network shop, is it possible they will eventually become too big and end up like the Roman Empire? while there is a certain convenience with it, i actually do not want all my social media in one place. just like that famous Wendy’s commercial from the mid to late eighties, day wear, evening wear, swimwear all the same and all “very nice”. nyet, comrade!

    Nancy Primm

    April 20, 2012 at 10:26 pm


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