MySpace Is Not for Professionals

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So this was my day so far today:

9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.:
Beauty swag haul in Rockefeller Center. I don’t write about beauty, or beauty products, nor would anyone besides my indiscriminately complimentary nephew Jack call me a beauty. And yet I was invited–as a workplace writer, somehow–to an event held in a swanky restaurant beside the ice-skating rink that promoted pricey lotions and potions to swag wh*res, I mean, journalists. I dropped by because it was on my way to Starbucks, but an hour later I staggered out with five shopping bags of Dead Sea mud packs, Romanian atomized mists and a pamphlet about female hair loss (it’s apparently an epidemic). Here’s what I learned: I need to change my beat.

10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.: Search-engine optimization training. A company called DEFINE Search Strategies talked a lot of monkeyscratch about meta keywords and title tags. Here’s what I learned: don’t use colons in blog headlines.

12 p.m.-1 p.m.: Q&A with Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson, CEO and president of MySpace. My colleague Jeremy Caplan arranged for the two execs to come by and talk story with us.

Here’s what I learned: MySpace has a platform for job-searching, but the CEO doesn’t really care about it. The company remains focused on the “social” in social networking, despite the millions of grown-ups who could potentially benefit from using the site. In fact, Anderson came dressed as a teenager (either that or a Park Slope dad), in a logo T-shirt, jeans and scruffy hair. He sat at the conference table playing a video game on his mobile device (nah, he was probably checking e-mail–way more interesting than talking to a bunch of reporters).

I’m a grown-up, sort of, so I don’t use MySpace. Which puts me squarely in the genre of journalism Anderson referred to sneeringly (the one time he looked up) as the “my kid uses MySpace, and he told me…”

The thing is, I’d love to use MySpace–if it were at all relevant to me. I love the idea of an easy-to-use portal on which to manage and grow my personal and professional lives. In the career space, MySpace has a job channel, powered by SimplyHired, which focuses on young career starters. When I asked about it, though, DeWolfe shrugged and said it’s “not core to the everyday experience on MySpace.”

Stepping into this vacuum is LinkedIn, which wants to become the MySpace for professionals. It says it’s now got 11 million professionals signed up. I’m one of them. I’m not an avid user, but lately I’m averaging one request per week from people I know to join my network. Spam and other intrusions are minimal; occasionally I get pinged by someone from China (ni hao, peeps–but if I don’t know you, I’m not linking to you).

Today, LinkedIn added a new feature called LinkedIn for Good:

LinkedIn for Good, a philanthropic initiative aimed at raising awareness and funds for nonprofit organizations around the world. The initiative gives each non-profit a platform to leverage LinkedIn’s international network of 11 million professionals and virally spread the word about their organization.

It’s basically a way to let your network know about the causes you care about:

LinkedIn for Good offers nonprofit organizations a page on the LinkedIn site as well as free badges—in essence a digital “bumper sticker” that LinkedIn members may place on their profile to promote the causes they care about to their network. In addition, the program offers registered nonprofits free job listings (a $145 value) to build their organizational capacity.

For instance, I give to Doctors Without Borders. I could add their badge to my page, which visitors to my page could click on if they cared to. It’s sort of like asking for donations at the office, but less pushily.

I learned a lot today. And I didn’t even tell you about my lunch with the HR honcho about diversity at TIME. Gotta run to an informational gathering downtown for women MBAs returning to the workforce.