Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Marriage of LinkedIn and Twitter – Is a Divorce Possible?

By now, the fact that LinkedIn and Twitter partnered to provide cross-posts is old news. Reuters broke the story on November 9. But, there is something that has not been openly discussed. Everyone may be excited about the new capability to cross-post 140-character updates through LinkedIn to Twitter and vice-versa, but what has been unspoken is the most basic tenet of marketing – that invaluable lesson about “knowing your audience.”

The audiences and uses of LinkedIn and Twitter are different, so why would someone want to connect the two? Most LinkedIn users provide a wealth of information to build their personal brands (aka, their professional identity) with the goal of building business contacts: their name, location, photo, expertise, current and previous jobs, job duties, education, contacts, group affiliations, links to portfolios, links to presentations, links to blogs, etc. A LinkedIn user must provide specific details in order to establish an account. By contrast, Twitter users do not need to show their photos, professional backgrounds, telephone numbers, websites, or even use a real name. Twitter exists and succeeds as a micro-blog where users discuss areas of specialty, opinions, news, and initiate and engage in conversations – all in 140-characters or less.

Representatives for both LinkedIn and Twitter stated that an immediate benefit will be for users of both social media sites to increase their audiences for Tweets and LinkedIn updates. But, without the unique audience component built into each social media site, there will be an overwhelming amount of information posted to both sites that will cause information overload. The entire purpose of creating and capitalizing on social media conversations will be impaired. So, my question is, how long until LinkedIn and Twitter divorce?

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