Branch Out – Professional Networking on Facebook
Branch Out is a free Facebook application that allows users to create a professional profile and network and is, effectively, a direct competitor to LinkedIn.
It launched two years ago but has now reached over 25 million users so is starting to cause interest (still a long way off of LinkedIn’s 150 million users though!).
What Branch Out has over LinkedIn though is access to the 850 million current Facebook users who simply have to accept the application’s permissions to start using it and connecting.
Once the application is installed, setting up a profile is very similar to that on LinkedIn. Then connecting with other users is as simple as going through your own friends list, and friends of friends.
LinkedIn is, undoubtedly, the leader in social networking when it comes to creating a professional network online. However, it can come across as a bit stuffy and old-fashioned. Branch Out, by its association with Facebook and its design, has a much fresher feel and gives young professionals who already connect with acquaintances on Facebook the opportunity to do this in a more structured way.
I would always recommend that people are very careful with their Facebook profiles by operating on the highest level of privacy settings and only accepting friend requests from people they know. I am still shocked by how many Facebook profiles are set-up as businesses and organisations instead of using pages!
Branch Out gives you the opportunity to ‘spring clean’ your Facebook profile by using it to connect with those in your network who are more acquaintances than friends.
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