Facebook App BranchOut – Should You Be Branching Out?

BranchOut LogoIf you’re on Facebook you may have run across a relatively new app called BranchOut.  I’ve been getting a couple of BranchOut requests and just last week I had 2-3 people ask me about it so I figured I’d do a little bit of research about the company and what it’s all about.

Essentially, BranchOut is a networking tool that utilizes the power of the leader in social networking to bring your professional world in tune with your personal world.  I’m a big fan of LinkedIn and quite frankly for quite some time I’d been ignoring BranchOut as nothing but a LinkedIn clone.  Not that I’ve got anything to hide, but I tend to keep my professional life on LinkedIn and my personal and family life on Facebook.  I’m always very cognizant of  of what my online persona looks like so I was concerned about not being able to control exactly who would be seeing what from a job searching perspective.  I reached out to BranchOut to see if I could get some additional information.

One of the BranchOut staff was kind enough to respond with an outstanding email that really set my mind at ease about what they’re sharing and how powerful their network really is.

I can completely understand your hesitation using Facebook for a job hunt or professional networking, but at BranchOut we provide Facebook users a place to establish a professional profile and professionally network among contacts. A BranchOut professional profile is the solution to keeping your Facebook content private, while displaying your professional profile to your network, the world of recruiters, HR managers, and employers. Importantly, BranchOut only accesses information to help you establish your professional network and profile, such as your network of friends. We do not access or request your other personal information, such as status updates, wall posts, interests, check-ins and current location. Phew! Talk about a relief.

Since most people get their jobs through their real friends, the value of a person’s Facebook network in finding a job or warm introduction is invaluable. BranchOut gives you the ability to identify friends and friends-of-friends at the companies you want to work with, and see open jobs with these inside connections.

BranchOut only shows your name, profile picture, work history, and education and other professional information you choose to share on BranchOut. Our use of limited information keeps your private life on Facebook and your professional profile on BranchOut. This means that your status updates, photo albums, and other personal information are not visible on BranchOut to your contacts, including employers, recruiters and your professional contacts. For this reason, BranchOut is also the perfect place to connect with professional contacts when you do not want to friend them on Facebook.

We fundamentally believe BranchOut will change job search, recruiting, business introductions and professional networking by allowing users to fully utilize their social network. Privacy is a top concern. We want you to succeed professionally, whether that means finding a job, recruiting talent, looking for warm introductions or helping your friends.

You bring up a great point about how LinkedIn is different than BranchOut, BranchOut leverages Facebook to help professionals improve their careers and assist companies to hire the best candidates. Facebook is significant for 4 main reasons:

  • Facebook is the largest social network – with 800 million monthly active users. LinkedIn only has 40 million monthly active users, meaning that it is more than 15 times larger than LinkedIn.
  • Facebook is more diverse thank LinkedIn. LinkedIn focuses on the top 10% of the workforce: upper-level, white collar managers. BranchOut, like Facebook, has this demographic, as well as the other 90% of the workforce. Companies can hire the full spectrum of their workforce – not just top managers – on BranchOut because it reflects Facebook’s global diversity.
  • Facebook has the highest level of engagement. People visit the site and spend more time on it than any other site. 50% of all users visit every day. People share more information than any other site.
  • Facebook is where you connect with your real relationships – your family, friends, and closest colleagues, not someone you met at a conference for 5 minutes.

I hope I cleared up some of your confusion! Happy to be a resource if you have additional questions.

I’ll admit that I really didn’t know exactly what BranchOut was and what types of personal data it was accessing.  Also, I’m loving the fact that photos, status updates and any check ins are NOT part of your BranchOut profile.  Very cool.  I’m going to certainly continue to use and cultivate my LinkedIn network, but after doing some additional research I can also tell you that I’ll be “Branching Out” in the very near future as well.

Just yesterday, Forbes announced that BranchOut has reached 300 million profiles with 10 million users.  Very cool!  Special thanks to Ali for the response as well as whoever is manning the @BranchOut Twitter account!

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5 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for doing the virtual legwork on this question.

    At the moment I have spoof job descriptions that only my close friends who I’ve worked with and will get the inside jokes will see, so clearly I have to fix that before I accept a Branchout invite. Thanks for helping me decide.

  2. I was just asked to join and the permissions stated it wanted access to all my friends’ information that I had access to. I disagree wholeheartedly with it taking information from someone who has not been informed or given consent. I share my Education and Workplace information with my friends only and don’t like that an application can take it and use it without my pemission. I have now had to delete this info from my Facebook profile as two of my friends have joined this app.

  3. @Robyn – received this response via Twitter this afternoon from @Branchout “The reason why we do this is so that you have access to your entire ntwrk, you can see where friends & friends of friends work!”

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