BranchOut. Is this the new LinkedIn?

Earlier this year Facebook brought out a new application called BranchOut, a new startup that pulls together information from your friend’s profiles, about what companies they work for, have worked for in the past as well as any other business-related details the app can find. It also includes a job board feature, which makes it easy to see whether there are openings at any of the companies friends in your network are associated with.

The question we should ask ourselves is…Should LinkedIn be afraid of this new competitor?

Rick Marini, ex Founder and CEO of SuperFan, an entertainment based social network that produced social games for clients such as CBS, MTV and Universal Music, which hit more than 200 million users before it was bought by monster.com in 2004 for about $100 million and later shut down. Marini founded BranchOut “your professional profile on Facebook,” earlier this year. So how does it work? Well check out this video:

I don’t think so. I originally started using BranchOut after seeing it advertised on a friends’ profile as a great new way to network within the work industry. I joined, thinking that maybe just maybe thanks to Facebook’s incredible expansion over a small number of years, it could kick LinkedIn in the backside and become the new number 1 career network. I would say it’s far too early being set up in July this year but I haven’t seen through my friends connections and my postings of jobs a dramatic change since day one. Whereas my LinkedIn account has had more views in the past 3 days than the whole of my BranchOut account probably has done since it was launched.

My career network stats:

I have 376 Friends on Facebook, of that 3 of my friends are on BranchOut, 916 Friends of Friends working at 113 companies and 256 companies are in my BranchOut Network. Whereas my LinkedIn I have 530 connections of friends and colleagues, 269,600 friends of friends (each connected to one of my connections), 10,581,800 three degrees away of users connected through a friend and one of their friends with a total of 10,852,000 users I can contact through an introduction with 31,746 new people in my network since December 19th 2010. Meaning from just LinkedIn I can contact 85,000,000 + users directly just through my network which puts me in a better networking position that BranchOut could and quite possible ever would.

There’s no question that BranchOut was brought on to ping an arrow into the face of LinkedIn and that someone sooner or later would launch a rival to LinkedIn via the Facebook network but I’m surprised it hasn’t done so well. What LinkedIn has in comparison is 80 million registered users, spanning more than 200 countries and territories worldwide but it’s a corporate network and Facebook just won’t ever be like it. I have a lot of connections on LinkedIn with not a massive amount of friends on Facebook but I’m not one to add people after meeting them after a few minutes. I also keep the two very separate because, well my Facebook is private and LinkedIn is work/networking related.

Although, I’ve had a different experience using this app, the success of this all depends on whether all my friends download it and use it, and the only way they seem to do this is if I constantly promote it on my wall. I don’t think LinkedIn has anything to worry about with this app, They are both too different and on opposite ends of the scale. If I wanted to know if my friend has got a job (that’s if I haven’t already spoken to them about it over a glass of vino, over the phone or via email) then I can easily just type their name in LinkedIn and hey presto there’s their details in my extended network.

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One thought on “BranchOut. Is this the new LinkedIn?

  1. There is no doubt about it that BranchOut is an arrow shot aimed at LinkedIn, as Mark Zuckerberg is no doubt kicking himself for not coming up with the idea himself. LinkedIn has been extremely busy over the past few years going from good to great adding social-networking style features similar to those seen on both Twitter and Facebook and the recently new feature where you can follow people/companies and comment and like a post/discussion/comment. The difference between the two for me is that LinkedIn is my professional network whereas Facebook I see it as my personal network. Mixing business with pleasure can work or not. LinkedIn is used for business affiliations, postings, comments and responding to jobs. Facebook is much more broader and more personal with games, photos, apps plus loads more that have nothing much to do about business. As Chris (Measures) has said “for me Facebook is like going down the pub….would you necessarily give a job to someone you met there?” I wouldn’t. LinkedIn has more than 70 million registered users and yes Facebook has more than 500 million but one is a business network the other is where you find out if your friend’s friends boyfriend/girlfriend may have kissed so and so or so at a party or how cute your cat/dog/budgie looks in a batman outfit. I’d rather not mix the two and keep them very seperate, but for those who don’t mind mixing the two worlds, BranchOut could make for an appealing alternative to LinkedIn, but then again, if LinkedIn if were to feel threatened (I think it’s early days for this) LinkedIn could always buy BranchOut.

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