January 26, 2010

Poll results are in: how much information do you share on LinkedIn and Facebook social media sites?

Last week I wrote about the awkwardness of using social media, and I thought the comfort level had something to do with the amount of information people share on social media outlets. So I threw in a couple of polls at the end asking these questions:

On a scale of 1 to 4, with 4 being the highest, how much information do you share on LinkedIn?
On a scale of 1 to 4, with 4 being the highest, how much information do you share on Facebook?

Between 30 and 40 people responded to each question, which isn’t a huge pool, but big enough to give some indication of reality (feel free to go to the article to cast your vote – it’s still open).

OK, I was in for a few surprises.

Facebook results:

Although almost 30% of the respondents had no Facebook profiles, of the people who had Facebook profiles, over 80% said they share a moderate amount of information (responded with #2 or #3).

This was higher than I expected. Considering the blog is read by professionals, they seem to be surprisingly open on this personal networking site. My guess is many of them don’t “open network” on Facebook, but I didn’t ask that question.

LinkedIn results:

Everyone who responded had a LinkedIn profile, which surprised me a little, but I guess it shouldn’t since the blog is mostly read by professionals.

But here’s the catch. As the amount of shared information increased, the numbers dropped. This was a big surprise to me. If you have a LinkedIn profile, why wouldn’t you share your information there?

These are the scenarios I thought about:

- They don’t see the value of sharing information on their LinkedIn profile
- They don’t know how to use LinkedIn
- They only use LinkedIn as a repository of contacts
- They are very high level professionals and don’t feel they need to share info
- They have a misperception about LinkedIn (for example, they might think it’s only used by job hunters – I’ve heard this before)

I can’t think of anything else. My market research nerves are tickled by this and I’m tempted to start another poll but I’ll let the readers pitch in. Bring it on! What do you think? Let everyone know what you think of both the Facebook and the LinkedIn results.


  1. I would say my Linkedin profile is a 4. Basically everything you ever wanted to know about me is in there someplace, including links to my other sites. As far as Facebook, I try to keep that only for family. It doesn't contain that much information (a 1 or 2) because every one of my "friends" know all about me. I think the line between family and other contacts on Facebook is beginning to blur!!

  2. Interesting information...

    How does the shared information on LinkedIn relate to Twitter? My LinkedIn profile is fed by my Twitter account. Does this increase the shared information ratios?

    I didn't take the poll:
    No Facebook Account
    Share moderate amount of information

    I look forward to your follow-ups on this subject.

  3. I would be curious to know about the managerial level of LI users and the degree to which they share information. One issue I have with LinkedIn are the "LIONS" or "open networkers" that collect contacts like postage stamps. If I were in a position were I was working 90 hours a week, on the road all the time, and felt entrenched in my career, I probably would fall into that fourth scenario--would it be worth it to constantly get requests to connect? Just a thought...

  4. I am a 5 (out of 4) on both Facebook and LinkedIn. I get more business from Facebook, because it is people I already know in a social context. However, I get more leads and new connections from LinkedIn, many who I have never met or will most likely ever meet (given geographical constraints).

    An interesting question would be what is the main reason people don't share more about themselves? Is it paranoia, is it concern for their image, is it lack of time to deal with unsolicited people wanting to be "friends" or "linked"? Also, if you were to do another poll, age I believe will be a big factor. I believe there would be a strong correlation between generation (Baby Boomer, Gen X, and Net Gen) and the amount we are willing to share online.

    I believe the younger generations already understand that the crooks and government (sometimes the same people) already have our private information and have no issue misusing and abusing it, so the only people we are preventing from seeing our private information is our friends and networks. It doesn't make sense.

    Privacy has been an illusion for decades. The privacy laws don't stop the crooks or government, they only stop those who want to remain law abiding.

  5. kat, good start on your investigation. but what kind of "information"? shouldn't this be further qualified? i share info openly -- professional stuff on linkedin and one of my twitter accounts, and more personal stuff on facebook. if i come across something interesting and newsworthy i'll share that -- time permitting. but there are personal stuff that i do not. certainly nothing negative about myself. i'm sure most others are the same way. so there is also biad built in.