Bill Gates – LinkedIn In, Facebook Out

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GatesCES2008_01_thumb The big buzz in social networking last week was that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has finally joined LinkedIn (as an interesting aside, he was previously the most searched-for name on LinkedIn). This seems especially surprising since Microsoft made a substantial investment in Facebook last year.

It all started with a report last month in British tabloid The Sun, which led with this blurb:

Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates has had to delete his Facebook account after being hassled by thousands of fans.

According to the report, Gates was spending half an hour a day on Facebook, “but he signed off after getting more than 8,000 friend requests a DAY, and spotted weird fan sites about him.”

Chalk one up for so-called “open networking”! It doesn’t scale, and it doesn’t work for people who have better things to do with their time than spend all day on social networking sites. According to CNN, one of the reasons he agreed to try LinkedIn was that it “offers privacy controls that will enable Gates to block requests to connect with him on the network.” Gates currently only has 4 connections on the site.

Last week, though, Gates decided to give social networking another try… at LinkedIn. Check out his profile, where you’ll learn, among other things, that he enjoys tennis and bridge.

What prompted this apparent change of heart?


Gates wants to use the Answers section to solicit input on how to further his philanthropic work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates kicked it off with the following question:

How can we do more to encourage young people to pursue careers in science and technology?

2297704526_69fd2368c3_oAt last count there are over 3,500 replies, most of which are well-thought and creative. I don’t know where else he could have gotten that kind of quantity and quality of responses.

The question is still open, so it’s not too late to add your answer.

Images: Microsoft Corporation,

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  1. The American culture is competitive – -enhanced by the media. Our children grow up in an environment that highlights/praises/rewards those with athletic ability. Thanks to internet technology, being a “nerd” is socially acceptable. For our culture, encouraging competitions, providing the media recognition, the involvement of celebrity personalities and learning about the personal and financial rewards for those who are gifted in the areas of science and math will slowly tip the scales for our children. Just as Greg’s Mortenson’s schools are slowly changing Pakistan and Afghanistan – – it takes time and long-term commitment – – but the payoff – – down the road will be amazing.

  2. Competition is an integral part of the American culture. This, in part, is because of the media focus on athletic competition. It will continue to play a key role in who we are. If celebrities (of all kinds) begin to talk about the importance of education, the role science and technology in their lives, talk shows like Oprah and Dr Phil focus on those who’ve been successful in science and technology; news stories highlight advances/success – – it will slowly balance our cultural scale. Greg Mortenson is slowly balancing the scale of learning in Pakistan and Afghanistan. We, in America, need our scale recalibrated to include not just sports and celebrities, but also science and technology – – they are our tools for future success.

  3. I think LinkedIn PR should be able to use this for their benefit. Any guesses who the four are? I don’t see W. Buffett on LI . . . I’m 3 degrees from him — have 4 direct connections to at least one of his . . .

    I find it ironic that I get an Adobe ad when I see his profile, and that it appears a cottage questioning industry has sprung up about his one and only question, now in its 10th day.

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