Last week Peter Sloep invited me to his trusted network on Reference.me (here is the official announcement). I was thinking “Oh, no. Not another Social Network thing…” Addicted to all the web-stuff out there, I chose to give it a try and create an account (like so very often). There was the first surprise: no authentication via Twitter or Facebook was available. The only available option was Google. Well, um … I was surprised as normally I don’t use Google for authentication and professional stuff but in the end it worked just fine.
The really cool think about Reference.me is that it allows you to visually create networks of people that you trust (or worked with or just want to have in that network). There is no such thing as messaging or activity streams, in the first place it’s just a mere interactive network builder. Adding people to your trusted network, however, is big fun. It reminds of adding people to Google+ circles but each circle (actually it’s a box) is divided in four categories: 1) my co-worker, 2) my boss, 3) my report and 4) other). Reference.me calls those circles “skills groups” and aims at creating sub-networks of skillful people. Another interesting feature is to see which other people have in their trusted networks, check their profiles and check what they are looking for.
The third pillar of Reference.me are “Postings” where users can share what the are looking for (typically jobs). While the idea is good, the realization is not that helpful yet. There is no search available, no recommendations of jobs fitting my profile and so on. As the service is still in beta, I guess the folks at Reference.me are currently working on that. By all means, Reference.me is one of this recent startups that we should have an eye on, as it may add value to the way we connect to people and become aware of their relations and opportunities that may arise from our connections