One of the limiting factors of Facebook is that you only get one degree of separation, while LinkedIN gives you 3 degrees of Kevin Bacon.
Here’s why that matters….I have almost 3K first level connections on LinkedIN, which gives me access to 10M members. On Facebook, I have over 1K first level connections, and that‘s all I can connect to.
Facebook has 2 applications that can help you: More Friends and People You May Know. Both applications attack the same issue from different approaches: Connecting to the friends of your friends efficiently.
Sure you could go through your friends lists, and invite people you know (or don’t know) to grow your network, but that takes a lot of time. Both applications suggest people who are friended by many of your friends. This means that the person is likely to have a lot in common with you, or be an open networker who accepts all friend invitations.
Using these tools also avoids the spam problem. Going through your friends’ list of friends and emailing them also looks like spam to the Facebook spam police, and will likely get you a nasty email warning saying Facebook will explode your PC if you continue (or kick you out of Facebook). Instead, sending invitations through either of these applications generates a default email that tells the receiver that you’ve got like a gazillion friends in common, and don’t you think we should connect?
More Friends: More Friends is an application that you need to add to Facebook. In order for More Friends to work, your Facebook friends have to have installed it also. This can be through your invitation, or you’ll probably see many friends have already added the application. After you add the application, More Friends searches your database, and the databases of all your friends who have added the application….and lists common connections, ranked by the number of common friends. I find people regularly that I share over 100 Facebook friends in common. I like that More Friends also lists location for most members, so I can add US based friends.
The real upside to More Friends is that many are open networkers, who are also looking to build large databases. This means that few will view your friend request as intrusive, and most will have large networks – giving you access to still more people through More Friends. In addition, the greater number of friends you have using More Friends, the greater number of common connections you will show with others. I get personally get a dozen or two inbound friend requests from people who want to add me to their databases.
More Friends does a great job by ranking the number of connections you have in common, but it has a downside. More Friends is useless unless you have friends in your network that have also installed it. You might have to invite some people to add the application, and some people consider this junk mail. You’ll also get a couple of Facebook spams, but it’s nothing like your junk mail folder.
People You May Know: This tool was recently added a few places within Facebook. It’s not an application, it’s part of Facebook, which means you don’t have to add it – it’s already there. People You May Know also suggests you might know others through common employers and education. You’ll see People You May Know on your home page (Right hand column), Find Friends, and also as News Feed stories. You can deselect, if you don’t wish to contact someone, and Facebook takes this feedback to make better future recommendations.
An interesting feature of People You May Know is the ability to not just friend people, but to refer them to other of your friends. Perhaps this is because you know that all of you were friends from work, or because you felt that person’s background was interesting. For instance, if you have a friend that’s looking for a job, you can suggest that I friend them. That will give them Facebook notifications when I post new articles to my blog (don’t worry…just like I don’t spam you, I won’t spam your friends either).
Will you find More Friends and more People You May Know to help your job search networking efforts? Please let me know about your experiences, and what works well (and not so well) for you on Facebook.
If you’d like more information, a free 30 minute resume consultation, or some advice about your career transition, just email your resume to reCareered at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll schedule a time to talk.