eBrandz Blog

LinkedIn faces challenge from new social apps

Among niche online networking websites, LinkedIn is the one that stands out as probably the most popular one for meaningful professional connections. That distinct position has yielded it the staying power and a state of dominance. But now it is facing new challengers in form of specialized apps that have arrived on the horizon.

By keeping its professional identity separate from other social sites, LinkedIn, is now a highly established platform. It has grown to boast a user base of over 135 million with people from around 200 countries across the world. But is a string of Facebook apps, which apparently offer alternative to it, going to hurt its LinkedIn?

Independent software developers – rather than taking it right from scratch – are looking to infuse Facebook with a professional layer, with a belief that users will readily accept a ‘less-than-complete’ separation, so to say, of the personal and the professional. Aptly summing up the situation, a recent report in The New York Times by Randall Stross refers to BranchOut, a new startup. It offers a Facebook app for the purpose of job-related networking.

What does BranchOut do for users? Let us see!

  • When the users join it, the software will pull all the available professional information about things like their education, current employer, job title etc from Facebook, keeping out everything else.
  • However, excluding aspects such as indiscreet photographs does not necessarily make the latter a good basis for constructing a professional identity.
  • BranchOut will show a candidate’s network of Facebook friends to prospective employers. These are not likely to have been gathered the way they usually are at LinkedIn, with the fair idea of the fact that one’s connections will closely be reviewed by HR managers verifying professional qualifications.

Monster’s BeKnown is another Facebook app, which competes with BranchOut.

  • This particular app claims to pull out more detailed information from Facebook than its competitor does. However, it lists friends chosen by the user specifically, and only if they agree to be included.
  • Monster Worldwide’s global product manager Tom Chevalier, who oversees it, states: “There’re people whom I would prefer rather not to interact with in my professional life, I may still be good friends with (them).”
  • So, why not put in the same amount of time and energy to build a comprehensive profile over at LinkedIn itself? The app developers like BeKnown reason that visibility is a factor as the average Facebook user visits the site at least more than 30 times each month, and also contend that convenience is very important.

But LinkedIn’s has its strengths. Applicants would want to be where the prospective employers are easily found; and employers, on their part, where the most eligible candidates are. In both scenarios, LinkedIn is still an undisputed choice something which works in its favor and helps it to retain its dominance in the domain of professional networking.