Why LinkedIn is better suited for use by advanced users of online networks

My coauthor Scott Allen pointed out this great analysis by Carolyn Burke of Psycho-sociological Stages in the use of a Public Contact List on Social Networking Sites. Her basic thesis : “As a member’s understanding of the site and its features matures with time and training, the use put to the publically displayable contact list portion of their own profile will transition over time.”

Her analysis shows that for the typical brand-new user of a site, who is seeking to amass large numbers of contacts, a service like Orkut is very well-suited. But for serious users who actually want to get utility from a site, services such as LinkedIn are much better designed.

Anyone interested in how to design an effective social network service should review this.