Social Networkers Need a Social Network of Their Own


Clockwise from top left: Reid Hoffman, Dan Nye, David Sze, Peter Thiel, Marc Andreessen and Jeff Weiner

Yesterday, LinkedIn announced that founder Reid Hoffman was going to resume his duties as the Mountain View, Calif.-based social network’s chief executive officer. He replaces Dan Nye, who had taken over the CEO role from Hoffman in February 2007.

Hoffman will be assisted by interim president Jeff Weiner, formerly of Yahoo (s yhoo) and an executive-in-residence at both Accel Partners and Greylock Ventures, positions he will maintain. The news made me think how close-knit the social networking companies are in Silicon Valley -– sort of like a private social network.

  • Jeff Weiner was EIR at Accel and Greylock, both investors in Facebook.
  • Greylock is also an investor in LinkedIn.
  • David Sze of Greylock is on the board of LinkedIn and is an observer on Facebook’s board of directors.
  • Hoffman is an investor in Facebook.
  • Marc Andreessen, co-founder of social network Ning, is an angel investor in LinkedIn and sits on Facebook’s board.
  • Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, is an investor in LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as a Facebook director.

If the list keeps expanding along these lines, perhaps at some point they’ll formalize it? I bet that social network wouldn’t have any trouble selling ads…


Roseann Higgins

Randy, above, I think you’re over thinking it. Nice writing, though! Comparing social networks divisity (is that a word?) to that between states and countries? One could write a thesis or throw it as a topic at debate teams.

The reason these guys might not be too social, from someone who doesn’t know them (me) might be because..they’re competitors! However, they all have the vision and I have a feeling they get along a lot better than most people in like businesses to be serving on each other’s boards and investing in the other. They each have an interest in making all the networks succeed. That never happens. You don’t see fast food restaurants supporting each other…until one gobbles the other up!

I was skeptical of what LinkedIn was when it was first suggested. I’ve worked hard to build my network of really sharp people. One ragged me for keeping my group private. I had to think about that. I’m not an open networker on LI. Not yet on FB, either. But Twitter..I’ll follow anyone who can teach me! It’s content driven. I LOVE that. And I’m getting that both FB and LI are that way and I never knew. Especially the 3 groups I joined yesterday on FB.

I have virtually met a sharp girl I need to know in both Australia and Hawaii in the last 2 days on Twitter. And I found Straight No Chaser and am getting their hot new Christmas CD with the best version of the 12 Days of Christmas I’ve EVER heard and am sharing that with all my friends because of a Twitter group’s Ning! I then became their Fan on Facebook.

The stories of what cross networking is going to allow are only pebbles in the sand compared to the mountains they can become because this is early stage and only early adaptors and folks who took their name and aren’t using it…yet. I know. Weak writing. I had to try. : )


Boring CEO career info aside, the author has brought up another interesting problem. Why can’t these gentlemen be ‘friends’? These gentlemen have similar interests and professions, but their ‘identities’ exist in different social networks — either by choice, or by “birthright”. So they are not ‘friends’, and they do not communicate. Why not?

Because they CAN’T. Ultimately, this is the problem with ALL social networks — they divide people. As a matter of fact, social networks are becoming freakishly similar to other systems that serve to divide people. STATES. COUNTRIES. BORDERS. ETC. These too are all social systems which divide people by location, language and ideology. And, even still like countries and states, social networks divide people by ‘geography’ (where people are now just happens to be where they started their first social network account, not necessarily where they would like to be; moving between social networks is prohibitively difficult, so people remain where they are in spite of their happiness).

The fact is, Facebook may facilitate the friendship of two English-speaking people in the USA and Australia, “bringing down borders between them” and whatnot, but in doing so it just created another damn border — the inability of those two individuals to become friends with a ‘foreigner’ in another social network.

silicon valley dropout

the goodboy network where everyone scratches each other backs.

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