I honestly can’t believe that I am writing this. Yes, another social network, I recently joined beBee. It must be true, because I told Word to add ‘beBee’ to my dictionary. The first step was to read a little bit about beBee, but for that I can
blame thank Teagan Geneviene (talk about exercising your spell checker).
beBee, as far as I can tell, is a wanna-be (no pun intended) LinkedIn killer. That’s what first caught my attention. I don’t know about deserving of death, but LinkedIn sure could use a slap upside the head. Despite being the first network I joined, LinkedIn has become my least favorite social network. LinkedIn’s problems are numerous. I don’t want to turn this into a LinkedIn bashing rant, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t give you my take on the top three things they do wrong:
1) Contact abuse – LinkedIn constantly tries to get you to fork over access to your contact list so they can spam everybody in it with a connection invite. As far as I know, even Facebook doesn’t do that, and when you’re worse than Facebook at something, you’re bad. This behavior results in some people having 10s or 100s of connections with whom they never intend to interact, but with whom it will be suggested that I interact, ‘cuz I’m connected to their mistake.
2) Groups – I don’t know how beBee hopes to improve on group behavior, but groups in LinkedIn are broken. Except for the very few that I belong to that are moderated by tyrants, groups are spam magnets, or ongoing discussions where the same 15 comments are repeated, over and over, because LinkedIn tends to only show recent comments.
3) Gimmicks – LinkedIn keeps trying to
force encourage interaction between members. Notice after notice: “see what your buddy X is doing” “So and so is having an anniversary” “Check out Joe’s new job.” Of course Joe’s new job is the result of him correcting a typo and X just connected to someone I don’t want to know. Don’t even get me started on Endorsements. I think they may have run their course, but they were clearly the worst – idea – ever.
The worst part about LinkedIn, for me, is its professional and economic focus. I’ve been told that some of my blog posts have been “inappropriate” for LinkedIn. Really? Why is that? It’s because they are more of a creative expression than a professional one. The fact that a lot of my connections on LinkedIn are with writers, seems to have no bearing on that assessment.
From what I’ve been able to discern, this last gripe with LinkedIn might be the sweet spot with beBee. Marketing itself as an “affinity network” that brings your personal and professional lives together. I like that idea, because I have a hard time keeping those two lives apart.
“The notion of a purely professional space seems completely at odds with the nature of social media.”
I don’t do much on LinkedIn anymore. As far as I can tell, most of the people whom I’ve offended with creative content are people who want to sell me stuff, so, no loss there. I have stopped joining new groups, and I tend to avoid existing ones. Most of the messages I receive are sales offers, and most new connections are wasting no time before trying to sell me something.
As for beBee, here’s a few observations from my first two weeks of experience:
I like that I can share a blog post with “Blogs in English” “Writing” or “IT – Information-Technology” groups. Unlike G+, I don’t have to create those circles, I can just reach into them as a member.
beBee is asking me to make my Contacts available. Having just barely avoided being burned by LinkedIn on this, I’m not doing it. Consider me twice shy.
beBee isn’t any better than LinkedIn at managing a dual professional presence. I work for a company but I serve on the Board of an association. Neither LinkedIn nor beBee seem to get that. Since I don’t want to attract tons of “professional” contacts, I’m leaving the association relationship out of my beBee profile. Until they figure out how to represent my slightly complex work life, I’ll just pretend to have a simple one. I’m not sure how people with really complicated professional lives deal with LinkedIn.
beBee seems to be more transparent than LinkedIn. I seem to be privy to some information that LinkedIn would only give me if I buy the ridiculous Premium membership.
beBee seems to be growing slowly. That’s fine with me. I hope they have the discipline to avoid all the traps LinkedIn has fallen into. I would like to see my network grow organically on beBee. I hope to connect with people who want to connect with all of me, and people from whom I can learn.