Future of Professional Social Networks

Written by
Rohan Bansal
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Future of Professional Social Networks

Written by
Rohan Bansal

Modern professional social networking sites are light years away from the ones we used in 2012. With the technologies and applications currently being developed we could very well witness a similar change in the social networking landscape 6 years from now.

Back in the mid-2000s, many espoused a theory that there would emerge social networks for different types of people. This was at a time when Facebook was still in its nascent stages of becoming a global behemoth. While Facebook led the social media revolution that would come to dominate our private lives, there was a quiet but equally significant revolution taking place in our professional lives. The likes of LinkedIn, Xing, AngelList and many more grew in popularity and started to disrupt the professional services industry. Already changing global operations, these companies have huge potential in drastically changing the way businesses across all industries shall function in the future.

Professional “Social” Network

We are currently witnessing a shift in trend of many professional networking sites being just a system of record for online resumes for professionals into more social and blogging platforms. They are going beyond just the conventional CV of job titles and responsibilities towards sharing informative content with personality.

With Xing CFO Ingo Chu stating as much in his recent interview with Inside Business where he revealed that he wants Xing to become “the most relevant source for professional content and help (their) users become more successful in their working lives. Going from basically a pure network and a small company to a mentor focusing on helping white collar professionals in their working life.” A notion that LinkedIn too agrees upon with their introduction of video content, long-form content publishing and photo filters. Opening up more opportunities to share engaging, informative content. A consequence of these changes being that professionals and brands are continuously publishing quality content in order to remain relevant on multiple platforms.

Making use of all available data

Professional networking sites shall start to have more opportunities to better understand their users, particularly now that they have so much data. These systems have generated so much data on their users that machine learning (AI) can take them to the step. That is of discovering patterns amongst thousands of factors that shall with increasing accuracy predict what and who their users shall find interesting. If tuned and implemented correctly, AI software will show us information that we find fascinating, important and stimulating of thought even if we would have never predicted it.

This has already been tested by Ideal a Toronto based recruitment software company that has begun to incorporate Artificial intelligence into their recruiting services. Claiming that its automated screening system saves 23 hours per hire, reduces cost per candidate screening by 75% and cuts down turnover by 35%.

Hiring

Speaking of recruiting, there are other ways that professional social networks shall impact hiring processes in the coming years. There is a belief that innovation happens at intersections when different skills and mindsets collide. Social networks make it easy for companies to get to those intersections, to find and learn from people who have additive experience. This is because social networks have made an important difference in the hiring process of young and upcoming companies.  This is especially the case for young and upcoming companies who now have access to some of the best head-hunters at their fingertips. Start-ups are increasingly starting to recognise the potential of social networks in the recruitment process. As they can observe and contact likely hires they would previously not have been able to access through their smaller network. Professional social networks shall in the coming years be game changers in terms of the quest for talent.

As professional social media sites move away from just being a portal for online resumes we shall start seeing them offer a whole variety of services. Harnessing the data they currently have to offer products and offerings that encompass the whole range of an individual’s public and work life.  We leave you with the final words of Ingo Chu who also echoed the same notion when stating that “Now if you look at the details and the company to get more deeper. Then what you see is that we have moved from a one product company to a multiple product company. We have moved from a functional organisation to a business unit organisation.”

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