Plaxo and Linkedin news, are the silos slowly getting it?


Original a comment for Robert Scoble’s “Plaxo 3.0, the new “Switzerland” of social networks, but…” but it won’t let me do so. Well, let’s go here again.

If you talk about social software and poking around your friends online, the real benefit of social software is (or should be) to enhance my life. Beyond what can be done offline. One of the great examples for this is what I have in my PDA at the moment – a copy of all my contacts down to every detail they gave me freely in my outlook through Xing’s interface. And they recently announced an API to open up their data for developers.

Facebook has gained great momentum as well and today seems as if news have broken around Plaxo and Linkedin when you take a look at the current Techmeme. Plaxo 3.0 is there and Linkedin opens up to developpers. Robert has some video about it and my comment which was supposed to go there is this:

The reason why my order of social networks is Xing, Facebook, Linkedin is very simple.

Facebook does provide me over Linkedin with information much richer – and while “but it is business only” is so last century, the new way facebook allows me to combine both is great. And with additional f8 there is a lot to do with facebook.

But, in the end, when I am online, it does not matter where i get the information. It is relevant when I am offline, and in more cases than not I do not have mobile access because I am not willing to pay international roaming fees for data, especially when I am in the US.

Xing allows me to download all of my contacts into outlook. It is no synchronize, but you can manage and you have the relevant information downloaded on your mobile device.

I am not the only one having asked for a synchro with outlook (after all, not even other systems), but Xing does prefer to “improve” their mobile client. Which, if you see my comment above, is totally beside the point.

It is about integration and synchronisation if online of offline. The times when work was work and you left your private stuff on your home computer is gone. Everyone of us has 2+ devices they want to synchronize and for god’s sake, it is 2007.

The standards are there and it still is not working with major clients properly.

If facebook and plaxo can open up the competition, so be it. But I still believe it needs a third party developer like plaxo to do it right, just like back then with intellisync.

But in the long run I agree with Jeremiah – I do not want to tell (as I do at the moment in 3 new systems) everybody over and over again that you are my contact. We’ve done this a thousand times now.

Can those developers please wake up?

Silo is yesterday. Try it and you will fail. Why does this still has not reached their minds?!

One of the reasons I think FB wins at the moment so strongly in the biz community of english speaking countries is simple: You get a photograph of a person, which you do not get in Linkedin. Something which has irked me for a longer time because I am used to that through Xing and other sites.

And while it is true that many many MANY people in business, especially in higher positions, do not do this “teenager stuff” yet, it is up to the digital elite to recognize that in the past you did not make connections and networking this way. But today?

Look at our behaviour when you go around online, how you use all those tools for keeping in touch and managing your work. Yes, you may still have a workplace where the only access to the outside world is email and www. But guess what – think 10-15 years back when suddenly you where able to send mail everywhere (yes, I remember that time). And what about the web – how often does a person in the workplace use it now?

You need not to be a futurist to see that our most valuable asset is our connection with people. Not tools. Which is why I will not bow down to one service to rule it all. I will play this orchestra of tools as I need them – cherish them if they make my life easier, and banish them if they make my life more complicated. But the most important thing is: I will move on.

See orkut. See Myspace. And it will be with the Linkedins of this world. The only reason until now for me to have a Linkedin account? To actually be able to stay in contact as in remembering what people are doing from the other side of the pond. The rest of my network (and that includes areas like Asia) lies in Xing with all the data they give me as access so I do not need to update them.

Now with facebook I do get two things I have always been missing on Linkedin but gave in for the obvious reason – a photo and contact data. Now they are there, they spread like wildfire and I am going to cancel my linkedin account, right? Wrong. Of course I will keep it open and look at it from time to time, but that is about it. Every time a company like Linkedin wants to impress me with numbers like users I laugh.

If at all they can impress me with people who PAY to use their service on top of others. Because they offer something of value. But locking in the user in order to keep them? Forget it, that trains has gone through town a loooong time ago. And Joe User will find that as well very soon. If your biz model relies on that …

[Oh and also: The world is flat. Over 60% of my readers come from the states, but you are reading a women from Germany who is engaged in this sphere. Care only about your local market? Your local mobile possibilities? Think again, very hard.]


3 Responses to “Plaxo and Linkedin news, are the silos slowly getting it?”

  1. Joe Shade says:

    The question is who holds the “golden copy” of your PIM data? Plaxo? Xing? Your wireless carrier? I vote for whomever can certify that the data will be protected, secured and backed up. It seems to me that the mobile device being the focus simply because it is always on and available plus there are standards based protocols for syncing. So maybe it’s the carrier who holds it? Who do we trust with this incredibly valuable data?

  2. I feel we have very much in common, how we see and use Social Networks and why, Nicole. That is why I set out to build an “open” and “user centric” solution, to make my life easier in this regard, as compared to the Silos and Webcentric approach we see today. The result is eBlizz and the SmartClient we will launch in closed beta very soon.
    Do take the time to join in and sign up on to see what we can do for you!

  3. jkh says:

    The question is who holds the ¡°golden copy¡± of your PIM data? Plaxo? Xing? Your wireless carrier? I vote for whomever can certify that the data will be protected, secured and backed up.