Friday, June 9, 2017

New Networking App Makes Networking Work Like Online Dating

Shapr is a new networking app that aims to help professionals connect more efficiently, and draws much of its format from dating-focused social networking apps. Shapr could be especially useful for those who have recently moved into their industry or location, and for those seeking employers or employees. For example, the app already has 65,000 users just in New York City alone.

Users create a profile with a list of interests, their location, and professional experience. That information is used to match them with others who have similar profiles. Suggested profiles are limited to many fewer than most of the dating apps it in some ways resembles. Only 10 to 15 profile matches are shown each day. The goal is to make sure a high proportion of the matches are relevant and helpful, so that users do not have to wade through an ocean of profiles unlikely to be people they want to meet.


Unlike other social media, there are no completely unsolicited messages. Users cannot send a message to someone unless they have already matched by both swiping right to like each other's profiles. Combined with the limit on profiles seen daily, the app could prevent much of the stress of some other social networking platforms.

Image by rawpixel/Pixabay

The head of PR and brand development at Shapr, Mandy Menaker, has described multiple successful connections facilitated by the app, including a connection for a video sharing platform, a healthcare entrepreneur finding two board members, and a partnership between two agencies. Menaker said, "these are just a few of the almost two million professional matches the app has made so far in 2017."
To be as helpful as possible, the app's algorithm needs to match up those without all of the same interests as well; someone with one focus may want connections with someone who has different, but still relevant, skills or resources. It is unclear from their described algorithm whether that balance is struck. Either way though, increased access to and individual control over networking will likely be helpful for many professionals, and may lead to otherwise-unlikely collaborations.


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