First up is InterAction, our internal Customer Relationship Management software. It shows the typical contact information, as well as being able to show employment history, marketing activities and matters the person has been involved in. It ties into Outlook so that Outlook and InterAction are synced together. If a person is in your Outlook Contacts and you have shared the contact as public, you are shown as knowing the person.
InterAction is a great source for answering the question, “Does anyone know ____?” It works better for establishing the first level of introduction, where someone is looking for another to introduce them to a third party. Although, InterAction can hold information about the person, it generally does not have much information beyond contact information and who knows the person. It is easy to find a person’s information and add them to your contacts.
The problem is that most contacts only have basic contact information. Most users do not populate the additional relationship and information fields available in InterAction. The other problem is convincing users to make their contacts public to the firm. Without this step, the relationship is not shown.
I am marked as knowing 1,300 contacts in InterAction.
Facebook is easily the least “professional” of these systems. Like LinkedIn, it requires a contact to set up an account and add information. The information can be incredibly robust and cover both professional and personal life. With its birth on college campus, much of the Facebook platform is focused on personal activities. But with the new applications available, there is an increasingly ability to provide professional information.
It is easy to create a “friend.” Just click “Add to Friends” and the contact gets a message asking to be your “friend,” which they can approve or deny. Once a person is a friend, you get to jump right into all of the their information.
I have 8 “friends” in Facebook. [Add me as a friend.]
Obviously comparing the three platforms is like comparing, apples, oranges and potatoes. They do different things. But they are all focused on creating, displaying and exploiting the relationships among people.