Zerply: Three Thumbs Up, Two Thumbs Sideways

This week I have been testing Zerply, the new professional networking site aimed primarily at people who grew up with the web. Though it sounds like an embarrassing disease, the name is inspired by the idea of "serious play" and the idea is to bring effective networking to non-corporate people who find traditional networking sites like LinkedIn very dull. You can read more about this idea at http://www.zerply.com/about and you can find my test profile at http://zerp.ly/andrewhennigan
Zerply is very simple and lacks the status updates, news feeds, groups and so on of traditional networking sites. Instead it focuses on one thing: finding people with similar interests. Each person defines some tags related to their interests, professional or not, and then you are presented with random people with similar interests on your home page. You can also search for people with specific tags. The "play" part is based on the idea that you don't choose business partners entirely on the basis of professional skills; good chemistry also plays a role and often this comes from shared interests and values. Zerply turns out to be especially helpful for connecting with new people and for this reason I will recommend it to people in my professional networking workshops.

Zerply is impressive. It's not perfect -- nothing is -- but my rating today would be Three Thumbs Up and Two Thumbs Sideways.

Thumbs up 1: The site design and layout is clean, simple and well designed. It looks like it was conceived from the very beginning with mobile users in mind and reminds me of the way everyone felt when chaotic messy search pages like Yahoo were replaced by Google and google clones.

Thumbs up 2: Zerply works. All of the features that are on the menu work and they work dependably, at least for me. I have not seen a single fail yet, which compares very favorably not only with other new sites but also some established networking giants whose fail screens are depressingly familiar.

Thumbs up 3: Creating a new profile is simple and very slick. At last someone has realized that we need to do this way too often and they have made it as painless as they can. There are just a few steps and you can even import all of your experience data from a LinkedIn profile -- which saves a lot of time with cut and pasting.

Thumbs sideways 1: This is neither an boon nor a curse, but the number of tags appears to be limited to five. This is probably necessary to stop people just choosing the entire dictionary, but it means that you need to be careful about your choice of tag and maybe even vary them sometimes. Choosing tags for yourself and your search is very important in Zerply so you need to give this some thought and maybe browse other profiles to see how it works.

Thumbs sideways 2: On Zerply you don't have friends or connections. What you do is "save" the contact information of people you think are interesting. They are notified when you do this. Like G+ you could save back if you wanted but there is no obligation. The reason one of my thumbs is sideways on this is simply because there is no obvious verb for this action. On Twitter you can say "follow me", on Heello you can say "listen me", but "save me" doesn't sound convincing.


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Related Posts on Networking:

How to Separate Work and Private Networking
Involuntary Networking: Why First Street is Fascinating but Scary
LinkedIn Etiquette: How to Approach People You Don't Know
Selling Your Ideas: Influencing Your Way to Success
Professional Networking: Five Sites You Should be Using
How to Use Twitter for Professional Networking
Sign Up Now: Joining New Networking Sites Boosts Your Reputation
Zerply: Three Thumbs Up, Two Thumbs Sideways
Three Keys to Networking

Lectures, Workshops, Coaching, Writing

For information about lectures, workshops, coaching and writing on this topic visit andrewhennigan.com, email me at conseil@andrewhennigan.com or call 0033 6 79 61 42 81


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