Facebook  just announced  that they are going to begin exposing a minimal amount of user profile information to people who are not logged-in to the service, including allowing the info to be crawled and indexed by search engines.
I’ve previously blogged about  how using LinkedIn  is important for the purposes of professional reputation management, and this change that Facebook has announced today causes me to state that they should also be something that users integrate with for the purposes of networking, proactive reputation management, and good career building.
In fact, I’d say that this change pretty well seals the deal on making Facebook potentially more important than LinkedIn. Just for one measure, compare the sites’ respective PageRank values: LinkedIn has a PR of 7, while Facebook enjoys a PR of 8. Once Facebook has opened up to allow spidering of their content, they’re going to get a really big influx of additional new users nearly overnight and their PageRank is likely to get a healthy bit of growth along with it.
Some folx are bemoaning the change to publicly displaying minimal profile info by default, but I don’t feel all that angsty about it — this change was fairly predictable, I’d say. Facebook is immitating LinkedIn in this respect, since LinkedIn has been allowing some basic info for users to display by default for quite some time now. From the business angle, Facebook’s change is very smart, since it’s going to bump up usage considerably and drive even greater usership.
The change is irritating some of their users, but I doubt that’s going to cause any sort of mass exodus or anything. It’ll be a while before most users even notice the change.
I’ll probably circle back around soon and provide an article on overall online professional, personal reputation management, so check back in this space in the next week or so if you’re interested.