As I have written about before, LinkedIn and Facebook, while both being classified as social networks, are very different. One is a giant network where we put all of our personal information. The other is a smaller, niche network, dedicated to one specific thing: collect and track contacts for your professional life.
And, because these two networks are dedicated to such divergent needs, they also offer up different services. For example, LinkedIn lets users see who has viewed their profile, while Facebook does not.
Those who use the service for free will get a list of who recently viewed their profile. This includes some analytics, such as how often their profile was viewed by date and how many times they appeared in LinkedIn search, along with percent weekly change.
Premium members will have access to more data, specifically 90s worth " to help you learn more about how professionals are finding you through top search keywords and which industries or geographies those searches come from."
These members will also be able to filter their search results by weeks, so that they can see trends "that will enable you to align your professional brand with your professional goals."
Why don't other social networks offer this feature?
Being able to see who viewed your profile would seem to be a pretty common feature across social networks; after all, these sites are, suppsedly, dedicated to bringing people together.
That is the very reason that it is offered on LinkedIn: because the company believes that it helps their users expand their networks. It can assist users with making new connections and get a better understanding of what others might be looking for in a profile.
"Who’s Viewed Your Profile is more than just a look at who is viewing you. Who’s Viewed Your Profile can also give you insights on: How often your profile has been viewed and what connections or groups you have in common with them," Udi Milo, Product Manager at LinkedIn, wrote today.
Fostering new connections should be the goal of all social networks, right? Well, apparently not, because this type of feature is not offered on any other major social network, including Twitter and Facebook.
I believe the reason for this goes back to what the ultimate goal of each of these networks ultimately is.
Due to LinkedIn being a network dedicated soley to expanding a professional connections, it actually helps to know that your specific profile is drawing people in. Over the last few years, LinkedIn has become, not just a place to link up with professional contacts, but the place to go for a complete professional network. It has become a site where people go to place to build up contacts over time, and, to many professionals, it has become an incredibly valuable resource.
More people looking at a LinkedIn profile means that the profile is doing its job; it means that people are interested in finding out more about you, and that can lead to more job opportunities down the line.
Facebook, on the other hand, despite it being the largest network out there, is still dedicated to putting out information that is more personal than on LinkedIn. And, for that reason, the network simply cannot afford to offer the samr type of information.
When most people who put their lives out there to be viewed by their family and friends, I do not believe that they actually think about the reality of what it means to have other people looking at what is being displayed. Nor do they want to be confronted with it.
To put it another way: showing who was looking at a specific profile would shatter the illusion of privacy, and would probably lead to users putting up less information if they could see who was looking at it.
And that goes both ways: for both the person putting up the information and those looking at it.
There is a certain amount of comfort in being able to look at anyone's profile as much as you would like without having to answer for it. Taking away that privacy, or the illusion of it anyway, would make people think twice about opening up someone else's page. And that would be the end of Facebook as we know it.
Vator reached out to Facebook for its perspective on the matter, but a Facebook spokesperson would only say, "we have nothing new to share."
Twitter could not be reached for comment.
(Image source: http://blog.linkedin.com)