To do your job better, connect through content

Sandi MacPherson never anticipated working in tech. Originally from Nova Scotia and with a background in climate change and clean coal, she made her way to San Francisco to build something unique. After tinkering with a few other ideas, she landed on Quibb: a place for people to share what they’re reading for work. Her goal, she told us, was to create a relevant, professional experience that ultimately helps individuals across industries do their jobs better.

Quibb isn’t a social network in the traditional sense — it employs the follower model and every member is vetted for relevancy and quality. Nor is it a content aggregator like Hacker News or Reddit — it doesn’t rely on a leaderboard. But it has become a place for professionals to connect, network, and get to know each other beyond the confines of other professional networks, like LinkedIn.

How content helps you make professional connections

You may not think of content sharing as a value-add to your job — especially if you don’t work in a role that requires you to create much content. But Sandi argues that there are many benefits to sharing content with your teammates, professional acquaintances, and potential would-be employers. Among them are:

  • You can show people you respect that you’re on top of the latest news and trends, build authority within your circles, and see what others are doing — almost becoming a peer learning group.
  • An opportunity to keep your resume fresh, without actually updating it: content sharing can show others how you actually think through problems, and what knowledge you’re consuming on a daily basis.
  • You can get visibility from influencers in your professional community that you wouldn’t otherwise know.
  • You can level up your first interaction with other professionals and colleagues you care about connecting with because they’re already familiar with your interests, insights, and areas of expertise — all because of the content you share.
  • At a networking event, it will be easier to make connections and start conversations when you have something relevant to discuss (an article you both may have commented on).

Of course there are many ways to share content with friends and teammates — among them are using social networks, projects in Asana (we have a company-wide ‘Interesting Articles’ project), and private groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. But what Quibb offers is an opportunity to share with vetted professionals you might not already know, and to share links and short-form commentary vs. full-blown original articles (as you would on Medium or LinkedIn).

Everyone’s a publisher of short-form commentary

How do you create more confident and connected professionals through content?

When Sandi first began to think about Quibb, she imagined it could replace the traditional industry journal; but unlike those print publications, Quibb would be a place where any vetted professional could be an author (not unlike Medium’s approach).

Quibb is a member-only network, but it’s not exclusive in the sense that you have to hold a certain role or title. Anyone is welcome to sign up using their Twitter or Google account — Sandi manually vets all applications. Her criteria? That you are a industry professional that would bring value to existing members. Quibb accepts 41% of applications, according to their website.

But there are other elements that make Quibb more than a professional network: each member has a profile page that reflects what they’ve been reading; Quibb sees all the articles you click on and automatically shares them to your profile page, so anyone could get a quick sense of what’s interesting and relevant to them.

Sandi told this writer that this feature offers other members (and non-members) a deeper understanding of who you are, what trends you are following, and what types of content you’re relying on to work smarter. Sandi recalled one Quibb member telling her he’d take a meeting with another Quibb member simply based on what he saw that individual was reading.

There are a number of ‘clusters’ of people actively using Quibb — professionals in the gaming industry, founders, product managers, and marketing/growth professionals. And even though Quibb isn’t a social network in the conventional sense, it has helped build connections among members who’ve come to trust each other based entirely on the content they’re consuming.

Making the most of your Quibb network

One might think that using Quibb demands a sharing-type personality but Sandi says that’s not the case. Making the most of your Quibb network doesn’t necessarily equate to posting lots of articles. She recommends:

  • Following people that work at a company similar to yours, in a role similar to yours
  • Connecting Quibb to your Google contacts (Quibb will automatically match your Twitter graph)
  • Using your profile page as a way to show others what you’re reading: paste your profile link into your email signature with a ‘Check out what I’m reading’ precursor

Once you’re ready to start sharing:

  • Add the Quibb bookmarklet to your browser
  • Post concise thoughts related to the article; don’t be afraid to ask questions
  • Consider this: original thoughts rank higher
  • Balance your sources: Quibb isn’t a place for you to share a stream of your company’s press releases, but occasional on-topic links to your thoughtful blog posts will get feedback and visibility from the audience you’re likely hoping to reach

One of the many benefits of Quibb, Sandi told us, is that it provides a closed environment for conversation — topics on Quibb tend to stay on topic and relevant; they rarely get derailed by a random commentator.

Have you tried Quibb or another network like it? What are your sources for great content, and how has a great article helped you do your job better?

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