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Why Are Linked-In and Twitter SO...SMALL?!

The failure of OTHER social media

There isn't one person that I know that doesn't have a Facebook account. I decline friend requests daily from people such as ex-girlfriend's fathers, old professors that flunked me, and even an old boss from when I was 16.

EVERYONE is on it. It is almost common practice to look at someone cross-eyed if they say they are not on Facebook.


But how is it that NO other major social media site has gained nowhere near the popularity that Facebook has? Over 300 million use Facebook. Only 50 million each use LinkedIn and Twitter respectively. Selfishly, I want MORE people on LinkedIn and on Twitter. More people = more people for me to network with.

So I ask you, my friends, a very important rhetorical question: WHY aren't more people on these other sites? What's the hidden factor? Don't cheat (by scrolling to the bottom). The answer to this question is going to help you develop an extremely powerful network. But in the meantime, I'll bet I can guess how you answered...

  1. "Well, each site has it's different uses... so different users only see the need to join certain ones..."
    And I would agree with you, at least on the different uses part. Facebook serves the social community, Linked-In serves the business community, and Twitter serves both.
  2. "There is less of a use for LinkedIn and Twitter than there is for Facebook"
    If you believe this, then your priority is socializing. (Those of you that have read my previous work know that I believe this is the ONLY reason for Facebook).  And this is okay, but improving your career is also a major priority in life (Linked-In) and so is staying in touch with events and information (Twitter.)
  3. "There is less of an audience for those other ones..."
    But are the audiences really that different?  The difference between the Facebook and the Linked-in audiences is that Facebook is probably used by most people from middle school up. LinkedIn users usually wait until the last year of college and later if they are going to join. My 16 year old sister has a twitter account and I know of Grandma's with them too - so Twitter isn't reaching out to less people. I am going to go out on a limb and say that we can exclude the most of the elderly population from the audiences of all three. Certainly there may be different audiences, but the audience for Facebook can't be six times as large as the others.
  4. And we know it's not advertising.
    Have you ever seen an actual advertisement for Facebook, Linked-In, or Twitter.

Did I pick your answer? If I didn't, I am obviously curious for your answer, so please comment. Now are you ready for mine? You might recognize it.....

How often do you push your real-life friends to get on LinkedIn or Twitter? Honestly! When you signed up for these sites, did you skip the "invite my friends" page? Instead, most of us are simply content to join and connect with the people already on them. We don't create the BUZZ! And we are hurting ourselves! Twitter actually did not grow last month!  Viral marketing doesn't just stop spreading. We are failing to create a viral market!

Facebook started with one mass email to a bunch of Eduardo Saverin's friends from a dorm room. And then the viral phenomenon started. And it continues to grow because you all tell your friends about it!  Everyone knows what Facebook is.

With LinkedIn, I consistently get "What's LinkedIn?" And with Twitter, "You actually use that!?" Or people are simply misinformed.  "I don't need LinkedIn because I have a job."  Or "The only people who tweet are sitting on the toilet talking about what they ate for dinner..." By the way, I do tweet from the bathroom, and I have used LinkedIn for years.

In all seriousness, the true merits of Twitter and LinkedIn are too cool NOT to share.  And I know you are all passionate enough to sell the value to all of your friends.  Go and get them into it!

One final thought to ponder: If I ask you share something on Twitter or I ask for your help with my career on LinkedIn, who is going to be more helpful... my real friends on these sites or those random connections I met a long time ago at a networking event?

Spread the word and see what happens!

What Can You Do: Well, share the love!  The first step is to spread this message through the social media community.  Submit it to stumble upon by doing this.... Use the ShareThis button below and submit Technorati, and Retweets.... are all good ways.  Let's build our community!   And I would love to hear your thoughts here!

More Stories By Sam Diener

Sam Diener blogs and consults from Philadelphia, PA, US. He started Stuff For Success, The Sam Diener Blog. In five months, his interesting and humorous take on Business and Social Skill Advice has built an audience of nearly 100,000 readers, and has guest blogged for major US sites such as Under30CEO and the Personal Branding Blog. By the way, he knows his web design on his site stinks, he finally hired someone to redo it.

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