When it comes to truly professional “social” networks, there are far less than general interest and entertainment-oriented networks. Ryze is virtually dead. Xing is more global. The old standby is LinkedIn although it still struggles with its Web 2.0 features. Facebook is still trying to overcome it’s school focus in some professionals’ minds. Plaxo has tried to capitalize on their previous incarnation as a contact management system. And hybrid online/offline communities such as BizNik tend to be more niche or regionally focused.
Enter Konnects. Konnects wants to fill in the gap between LinkedIn and Facebook, providing social tools for a younger professional who may not quite have enough contacts to make LinkedIn really work for them but want to focus on business more than Facebook promotes. Konnects wants to be not only the place where business professionals can find one another but also the place where they can transact business on the site, exchanging all of the information and documentation needed to solidify a working relationship.
Konnects focuses less on email and much more on chat, instant messaging, video conferencing and Twitter integration. The site has the usual social networking features such as Your Network News which is similar to the status updates of you and your contacts on many other networks.
You also get recommended communities on your Konnects home page although I’m not sure why some are being recommended to me. The “Women’s Resources” made sense since I’m a woman. But “Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber”? I live in Alaska. And “Accounting?” I hate accounting.
What Konnects has that LinkedIn doesn’t have is an integration of Communities – not Groups – that are essentially white label networks a la Ning. Maybe I’ll create my own community.
Also on your home page, you are fed videos from your communities but if you don’t belong to a community yet, you get a plain icon that says “Join More Communities. Get More News.” And you can blog.
While Konnects claims to have over 350,000 members so far, my interactions on the site have felt a little lonely even though I am connected to the CEO of Konnects and one of their publicists. I’ve poked around at some of the communities and put out a few invitations to connect (with a free account you are limited to three). I’ve put out a bulletin to my contact list of two. I’ve updated my profile. I’ve tried to connect with people I know who are supposed on Konnects (as per the site culling through my Gmail address book) but never heard from anyone. And I’ve watched the paint dry.
Konnects is still in beta but it is more visible now so perhaps the community will start buzzing. Additional features are for premier users only such as unlimited messages, profile advertising (so you can market yourself to others), and free Internet calls to members. Monthly membership is $14.99 or $89.99 for a year.
With paid membership, you can also view the profiles of the people who have viewed your profile. Despite the creepy aspect of this, it does give you an advantage to see who is curious about you although getting in touch with them after they viewed your profile could also seem pretty creepy.
A nice feature of Konnects is aggregation of your community content. If you join a number of communities, you can actually get an aggregated view of, say, the classifieds from all communities, and you can access all you communities with one login, one password (unlike Ning). Another useful feature is that you can list certain people in your contact list but make others private – a smart way to protect your higher profile contacts.
More features, productivity tools and other third party tools are in the works.
As an avid user of many social networks, I know that especially with professional ones, you get out of them what you put into them so I am reserving judgment for now and will keep plugging away at upping my Konnects connectivity.