Social Network XING adds validated skills cloud

While I do regularly accept my LinkedIn invitations, I can’t say that I get a lot out of being a member there. In contrast to that, I have been a paying Premium member (~ 5 EUR/month) of the german founded social Network XING for about 6 years now.

What I like about XING is the well structured UI, and the focus on being able to see changes in your network. XING gives me a start page that will show me

  • which of my contacts has changed something in their profile
  • which of my contacts has added someone to their network
  • who has visited my profile page(!), as well as where they came from (search, click on forum post etc.)

All this is information that keeps me going back to the site daily, and makes sure I get back to contacts now and when. There are also searches like “contacts that have changed jobs in the last month”.

XING keeps adding features, like dopplr or Twitter integration, regularly. The latest one is a cloud of skills that you can enter, add a detailed experience level, and then ask your contacts to confirm them. This is basically a living breathing CV with references and confirmed (!) skills.

I have started to play with that yesterday, and I like it quite a bit. The confirmations are way less awkward to request than official references, and they also point specifically to a certain skill. By looking at who confirmed that skill and what their job is, you might find an extra bit of credibility (having a customer confirming a skill vs. a colleague).

Here are some observations I have, as well as room for improvement:

  • getting to the skill confirmations takes too many clicks – I wouls like a “confirm/reject” button directly in my contacts activities list
  • right now you can only have your skills confirmed by sending out requests. I would like to be able to give unsolicited feedback to skills that my contacts enter
  • I think the skills cloud is so important and says so much about who you are professionally that it should be on top of your profile page if you use it, not hidden under “applications”
  • the skills cloud/list should also show the number of confirmations in the cloud, clicking on it should send you to the lisz of people who confirmed it
  • I would like to be able to upgrade a skill. If I have gotten better at something, I’d like to be able my proficiency there.

Since my requests went out, just about everyone who answered has also added the application and started sending out requests. I think XING has another winner here that might go viral.

Jaiku: Recursive Microblogging

Oh crap – as if I didn’t get enough stuff to divide my attention already: Jaiku allows you to add other feeds that will get published through Jaiku, too.

Some people add Twitter feeds in order to avoid having to manage two microblogging tools.

Unfortunately, some of the people use a tool to get their Jaikus to Twitter.

This way, I get some people’s Tweets/Jaikus three or four times.


gerikson: jaiku: bad car day and 4 more

Fetched from Twitter / Martin Little with friends. 2 hours, 41 minutes ago.

I have both Martin and Gustaf in my contacts, so I’d get their Jaikus anyway. Not even mentioning that I’m also following both on Twitter…

Oh, and one more thing: of course most of my Twitter contacts replicate to Facebook, too, where I get to read them in my Facebook feed.

The social network madness continues. Time for the bubble to burst and consolidate.

The Social Network Dance

It goes a bit like this:

– I see someone messaged on Twitter and follow on to his Twitter page
– I look at his blog and add it to Google Reader
– I add him to Twitter and send him a message
Jaiku pulls in my tweets
– He sees me and sends me a LinkedIn invitation
– I add him to LinkedIn, looking him up on Xing
– I add him to Xing
– He finds me on Facebook and adds me
– I add him, too
– After we exchange emails, I send him a Google Talk invitation
– We swap phone numbers, and through my Outlook Plaxo plugin he gets added to Plaxo
– His Plaxo Pulse updates arrive in my mailbox
– Oh look, he’s on MySpace, too!
– Niiice pictures – let’s add him as a Flickr contact
– I wonder what music he listens too – let’s hope he’s on
– I receive a Dopplr add in return

Now, suppose I get a new IM jabber ID – where do I start maintaining that…?