Learning to network

February 2, 2007

Pitching XING and LinkedIn head to head (round 1)

Filed under: LinkedIn, Manage my network — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 3:10 pm

So today was my first opportunity to do some comparative analysis between these two networking tools.

I received an invitation to a business seminar from a Xing emailgroup, and although you “don’t get ‘owt for nowt”, my up-front costs are a couple of hours one evening, so I decided to accept. I trust its not one where they lock the doors 😉 , so I’ll be free to leave if I feel uncomfortable, and I can just repeat the mantra “don’t sign anything” to ward off evil contracts. Anyhow, I digress, this event is also posted up in Xing which leads to some useful benefits for a virtual networker who is looking to try a little physical networking.

Of course in this first round of the match, you must bear in mind that my LinkedIn profile has many more connections than my Xing profile, but as you’ll see that might be symptomatic of how easy LinkedIn makes it to find your real-world connections.

The Xing Events features allow me to do two pretty handy things. Firstly I can search for events by location and date, so quickly find those which will be convenient to attend. Secondly, once I have chosen to attend, I can register this fact, and my basic profile details appear as an attendee. The cool thing about this is that I can see who else is planning to attend, and determine who I would like to meet during the event (or even decide whether or not to go based on who will be there!). If I know about events that are not already in Xing, I can create one, but I think that’s rather advanced for me.

Having discovered this gem in Xing, I looked back through LinkedIn carefully, to make sure I had not overlooked it. However, I can find no similar features. Admittedly being US-centric, there might be less in my locations, but the principal is that LinkedIn does not appear to support physical events as well as Xing.

On the other hand, LinkedIn redeemed itself in my books because it clearly brings to my attention two very clear ways to connect with people I already know and trust. I have already loaded up my address book, so that it tells me which of my email contacts is LinkedIn, so I can make quick connections with them. In addition to that, every time I go to my LinkedIn home page, it reminds me that I can connect with (ex-)colleagues. These are defined as people who have the same companies as mine in their history. It makes it very quick to browse a list of names for each company, and I can tick each of those I know and trust, to invite them quickly and easily to connect with me. I do not know if they had to be at the company at the same dates as I was, to make them appear, but this feature is well presented. And what makes it even quicker is that I can choose to see only the new people in each company list.

I did check whether Xing could do this, and after a little scrabbling around, I finally found some options under the PowerSearch sub-section to contact colleagues. The unfortunate thing is that the results come back with their names blanked out and the only clue as to who is who is a tiny thumbnail photo. Now not everybody puts a photo, few of them are clear at this reduced scale, and anyhow this does not help me find people I work with virtually, and therefore recognise less well. Admittedly I could pay for a monthly premium subscription to see the names appear, but I kind of think “why should I?” when I can do this quickly, easily and for free in LinkedIn.

Ok, so that’s a 1-1 draw so far in the LinkedIn vs Xing match, only time will tell who might end up coming out on top. I guess my only choice, still, is to back both contestants so I am guaranteed to win.

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1 Comment »

  1. Why do I have the feeling that the referee will win the match? 😛

    Comment by Ashish C. — February 3, 2007 @ 10:32 am


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