Alternatives to LinkedIn?

Every so often during one of my training session an individual will ask “What about other networking sites?”

The frequency of that question led me to putting a standard slide into my introduction talks…

LinkedIn is the #1 professional networking site

So here’s a list of popular networking sites*:

MySpace 117 million users
Facebook 90 million users
LinkedIn 25 million users
XING 5 million users
Plaxo 1.5 million users
Ryze .25 million users
Ecademy .15 million users

So you can see – MySpace and Facebook remain above LinkedIn, but no other professional networking site is within reach. (Please – leave a comment with information if you see something else I’m missing)

Got fans?

If you have a fan base, the more social MySpace and Facebook may be good for you. Usually I’m working with professionals and these sites don’t fit as well.

Only time for one site

This is my deal breaker – I have only enough time to work with one networking site, so I’m staying with LinkedIn. I’m not interested in replicating the environment over on one or more other sites, I just can’t manage it all.

Your mileage may vary

It is quite possible the that “best” networking site is just adding it’s 1000th user, and nobody’s aware of it – that may be – when a site does all of what I want and does it better than LinkedIn, and makes me think I’ll be able to bring over the solid base of support I have on LinkedIn, I’ll consider it – but until then, I’m not budging.

If you’d like to convince me otherwise, please try;-)

To your continued success with LinkedIn,


* Here’s some reference links for the chart above – MySpace info from this businessweek article; Facebook info from this page; Xing info from this web article; Plaxo info from this cnet web site. [I was unable to readily access numbers for Ryze and Ecademy, so those are from the best information available]


  1. Hi Steve

    I like this post, it gives some perspective on something that I have been ‘chewing’ on for some time.

    I am one of those people who has, in the past, spread himself too thin, in terms of social networking, and wants to consolidate with one primary target site, and I agree that LinkedIn is a great choice.

    Can I pick at your experience a little? If I wanted to get from the 200 connections that I currently have up to the thousands that might be useful, is there any tried and tested methods….

    As always, thanks and feel free to connect :0)



  2. Graham,

    I appreciate your comment.

    For more on the topic of LinkedIn competitors, be sure to read this more current article:

    LinkedIn is up from 25 million to the 45 million range, though I don’t think any of the other trailing sites has grown that much.

    On your question – I don’t think 1000 connections is useful.

    Why – because you don’t know them, and can’t get introductions from them.

    They will sap your time, distract you from real efforts, and may even embarrass you in front of one of your VIPs.

    Would you risk your most significant LinkedIn contact – with a person you know and trust – because you added 100 people you don’t know?

    Try this article for more of my opinion here:

    And look in the “connections” archive for more.

    I’m happy to build a relationship – and connect when we know and trust each other – and this is a great first meeting;-)


  3. Is there a good alternative for LinkedIn. I and a number of people I know are tired of ahving their accounts restricted because of people joining LinkedIn and then not wanting to participate. They join groups and then when you try to connect they decline and then LinkedIn restricts your account.

    It has gotten to where you are lucky to be in sales or business development and not have your account blocked.

    I have been a member of LinkedIn since shortly after their launch and can no longer stand the aggravation.

    If anyone knows of a good alternative I would appreciate hearing about it.

  4. rbc,

    Sorry to hear that you’re disappointed, but since I wrote this entry in 2008, LinkedIn has grown from 25 million members to 80 million.

    Some of us actually like the protections we have from unwanted contact – but hey, I see how they can make your life hard…


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