Thursday 30 June 2011

Branchout, BeKnown and the Bubble


  I was fascinated by this debate taking place at the Economist recently – are we in a new tech (social media) bubble?

There were some highly engaging exchanges, and a thought provoking result – over two thirds of the participants voted yes!


At the time, I didn’t agree, but then, it’s been a particularly enthralling week in social media land!  So, there’s the new, funky google+, and in the HR world, there’s Monster’s new Facebook based, Linkedin-like, BranchOut-bashing app, BeKnown.

This has been getting a lot of attention, but probably not as much as BranchOut’s carpy response (see HRZone, Fistful of Talent – reporting from SHRM’s annual conference, or your favourite HR / Recruiting blog).  [I think one key lesson from this experience concerns the power of social media – BranchOut’s not done itself any favours by its response to BeKnown, but Monster’s prior engagement of the social media / social recruiting crowd has paid off in ensuring a positive reaction too*.]

So I was fascinated to see that David Henry from Monster would be reporting on BeKnown at SRConf this afternoon:


According to David, 62% of workers in the UK are concerned about mixing friend and professional contacts on social networks.  But people want to have their contacts within these separate groups in one place.

This is difficult as there are 2100 job boards in the UK – it’s a hugely fragmented pictures.  So there’s a huge demand to be able to find these audiences.

BeKnown mashes up Facebook and mashes up Linkedin.   Linkedin is great, but there are many more people on Facebook.  The app enables both companies and candidates to own their profiles.  Gamification (ie badge earning) is built in to make the app experience fun.

Social recruiting is about being there for big events in peoples’ lives, not just advertising jobs.  BeKnown helps recruiters do this… (there’ll shortly be an opportunity for everyone to earn a referral fee as well).

Lastly it’s different to ‘a lot of the other apps that sit out there’ (who might that be?) because it’s being introduced simultaneously in lots of countries and languages etc.




Very funky!

Overall, I think Monster’s app is a cool move, and could be useful, so I will be trying it out.   But I have changed my mind about the bubble.  Not all of these sites are going to survive – network effects will ensure that people move to the most popular sites (remember Twitter’s competitors in the early days of micro blogging – no, I can’t either: that’s my point).  So someone’s investors are going to be disappointed!

That’s one thing.  For the rest of us (the users) the added competition can only be a good thing.  Will the professional network of the future be Linkedin, BranchOut, BeKnown or something else?  Who knows?… Who cares?  The important thing is that the opportunities for connecting and building relationships are only increasing.

Social media may be a bubble, social as a strategy is still in its very early days.


* Disclosure: I’ve got two of Monster’s big Monsters and two little Monsters back at home.


Also see this post where I first reflected on the social media bubble – rather prematurely back in 2008!



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1 comment:

  1. I won't defend BranchOuts reaction to Beknown but if they got testy over it I think they wasted their energy. Apart from a better personal profile set up than BranchOut, BeKnown offers nothing not already in BranchOut and withholds key benefits, to both job seekers and recruiters. In BeKnown you get no added value for your connections but in BranchOut you do, you can leverage friends of friends. Sounds like not a whole lot but with the average FaceBook user having 130 friends that's a hell of a lot of potential opened up.


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