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Can Facebook's BranchOut Bridge the Business/Consumer Divide?
Posted on January 21st 2011
When it comes to social media most people are schizophrenic – using specific tools for business and personal life. Generally this means your contacts on Facebook are different from those you interact with more formally on LinkedIn. Twitter can be either (dependent on the person) while blogs tend to be either ‘What I do in my spare time’ or ‘Why I know what I’m talking about in my field of experience’ (hopefully Revolutionary Measures fits into the second category).
But as part of its plan for world domination Facebook is looking to change this, with the launch of BranchOut. Essentially it builds a LinkedIn-style network on top of your Facebook friends, using the power of your contacts to find and match you with job opportunities. It is simple to import your LinkedIn profile so you can be up and running quickly, but here are five reasons I don’t think it will work:
Your Facebook friends tend to be just that – mates, mates of mates or people from down the pub. Do any of them have access to the jobs you are looking for – and after seeing you down the pub, would they employ you?
I may be forty something and out of date but how I talk to my friends and business contacts is different. Even if someone spans both groups you change your approach and language dependent on context. Hence using different networks for each group makes sense.
3 More spam
Due to the opt-in nature of BranchOut you need to request your friends to join your network – which could well be seen as more spam from people you only vaguely know – and then not in a business context.
4 No interactivity
LinkedIn worked hard to move away from being a static CV database, introducing news, company listings and relevant groups you could join. At the moment BranchOut seems to be early LinkedIn – you sign up and then not a lot happens.
5 Flavour of the month
There’s a tremendous number of apps, widgets and games available for Facebook with more being launched all the time. Evolution dictates that lots of these wither and die, while others retreat to their niches. BranchOut is the current new great thing, but after the initial euphoria has waned, will users still sign up?
Time will tell, but my bet’s on BranchOut not having enough to dislodge LinkedIn from its top spot – even with the backing of the world’s biggest website.