If LinkedIn is the professional equivalent of Facebook, then Hashable is a little more like LinkedIn for Twitter users. Hashable is a social networking site funded by Union Square Ventures and acquired by UpCompany that launched in private beta earlier this year. To use Hashable syntax, we # justmet @emilyhickey and @mikeyavo – that’s CMO Emily Hickey and CEO and Founder Michael Yavonditte – at their office in Manhattan to find out how to use Hashable, who’s on it right now, and what’s next for the startup.
On Hashable, people who want to meet in the real world can not only make introductions online, but can also differentiate between an acquaintance they met once at a conference and a friend with whom they have lunch every week by posting their activities.
To start, users create an account with an e-mail address or a Twitter handle. There is no place to put up a resume, but each profile includes a brief bio with a ranked list of connections, and like on Twitter, people can follow other users. To make an introduction, just enter the Twitter handle or the e-mail address of the people you would like to introduce and a message will be sent to both parties, along with the hashtag #intro and a “cute note,” said Hickey, that can be customized, but “that makes you feel off the hook for” coming up with something on your own.
Once people are introduced, they can post whether they’ve had #lunch, #coffee, or other hashtags to indicate that they’ve met in person. “People are getting so creative [with their hashtags],” said Hickey, “which is part of the fun.” The more introductions users make that lead to real connections, the higher they rank on the leader board, a public ranking page which assesses users not by number of connections, but by points earned for making introductions.
Although many introductions might be best left to private e-mails or in-person meetings, Hashable is an interesting way to reveal a person’s networking efforts in a public forum. Maybe it’s more like checking in on Foursquare, but with people instead of locations. Or updating a relationship status on Facebook, but with professional relationships instead of romantic ones. But we’re going to stick with the LinkedIn analogy because ultimately, said Hickey, the goal is to “make connecting easy and fun.”
Unlike LinkedIn, which covers a broad spectrum of industries and job titles, the crowd at Hashable – at least for now – seems to be mostly entrepreneurs and investors. “New York social media geeks,” said Hickey. Today Charlie O’Donnell, EIR at First Round Capital, is ranked seventh on the New York leader board and John Frankel, Partner at ff Asset Management is third on the list, just after Hashable’s founders.
Hashable might not replace LinkedIn, but Twitter didn’t replace Facebook, either. Because the introductions post on Twitter and don’t involve a resume, they seem more streamlined and a little faster than waiting for an introduction on LinkedIn.
Hickey told us that more features are on the way, including a mobile application. The site is not currently generating revenue, but the company is in the process of working out a business model to implement once the beta testing is over.