A Social Network for Generation Y
If you are reading this, chances are that you’re one of 80 million people of Generation Y. More specifically, Generation Y describes the group of people born between 1980 and 1995. Some of us Gen Y’ers remember a world without widespread internet use, but we really grew up as digital natives. And as digital natives, we’re clamoring for the new cool way to communicate or to get our hands on the next raddest hottest piece of technology.
Studies confirm what we already know. We don’t want to use Facebook to interact with professors or with possible employers. Social networks like LinkedIn are chunky and, in my opinion, not versatile enough for our generation. Among the hordes of social networking services, one service carefully toes the line between your personal and working world.
The Brazen Careerist, started in part by Penn State grad Ryan Paugh (a member of Sigma Alpha Mu here at Penn State and a former THON dancer), sets out to fill the gap left by major social networks. It represents a new way for Generation Y’ers to share ideas, share advice and network with their peers. Paugh says that the Brazen Careerist is targeted primarily towards college and graduate students with a particular focus in mind:
We built the network to help you guys avoid the mistakes that we made during our transition into “the real world.” Brazen Careerist is a place to build a professional network before you find yourself in a situation that you don’t want to be in. Example: Getting stuck in a job that you really hate. Even worse, getting stuck in your parent’s basement without a job.
I took Brazen Careerist for a spin and it’s pretty easy. You can use Facebook Connect to ferry information between your Facebook and Brazen Careerist accounts. The service is centered around a newsfeed-type list of things that other members post. Content in this ‘Fan Feed’ is populated from posts by other users and some from Facebook and Twitter content. Its very simple layout is a godsend, especially when compared with Facebook, LinkedIn, or MySpace.
According to Paugh, the Brazen Careerist is intended for a different audience and purpose than its social networking cousins:
Facebook is purely personal and that’s the way it should be. I use Facebook to enhance relationships with family and friends. I don’t use it to enhance my professional life. LinkedIn is a great place to manage connections that you already have. It’s not a great place to make new connections. People like you come to Brazen Careerist because they’re young and they don’t have any connections. 90% of jobs are filled through referrals so if you want to be successful you need to start building a strong network early.
Paugh and I also discussed the the importance of managing your online identity to balance personal and professional information. An individual must be strategic as to not upset the balance of the force between your personal and professional life:
Balance is important. We talk to a lot of employers. They want to hire people with a personality. So we encourage you to be yourself, but also be respectful. Learning by example seems to work best. Pretty much everyone on Brazen Careerist is friendly and fun. If you’re unsure about something, just ask!
I’m looking forward to exploring the Brazen Careerist more. I only have two fans (the equivalent of Facebook friends) at the moment, so hopefully it gets more interesting. The only question that remains – who wants to team up with me to create the next Google?