Facebook Vs. LinkedIn

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The easiest article to write this weekend was a version of "Why LinkedIn ( LNKD) Rocks and Facebook ( FB) is Lame."

After all, amid Facebook's ongoing saga, LinkedIn reported earnings after the stock market's close on Thursday and, wouldn't you know it, results were... good.

LinkedIn's top line -- up 89% and above expectations -- dropped jaws. Earnings were commendable too, despite the fact that the company spent heavily in an attempt to build out. But here's the kicker: LinkedIn raised numbers for the quarter and year. Cue those "Facebook is Reeling, LinkedIn Rising" articles.

Forbes went with: "Why Wall Street Likes LinkedIn More Than Facebook."

The problem is, media outlets from Forbes to The Associated Press running with these stories tried to identify reasons for the difference in fortunes between the two social media companies and mostly touched upon the same one: LinkedIn's professional customer base is more consistent and valuable to advertisers.

True enough, but they need to get more specific. For LinkedIn, mobile is apparently not the third rail that it is for Facebook.

Facebook, used by plain-old folks to post photos of the cake pop they just bought at Starbucks ( SBUX), has been put on the defensive by mobile competition in both the marketplace and the perception of traders.

LinkedIn, not used with the same sense of transience, doesn't have to sweat mobile as much. Ironically, LinkedIn's mobile usage, starting from a small base, showed growth. Importantly, it doesn't really matter. And there stands an important difference the media generally ignored.

At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page.

For his "Business Press Maven" column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

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