Imagine if Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter were locked in a cage; force-fed haggis; made to watched Braveheart on loop and wore tartan kilts, then the result would be Kiltr.
Kiltr, a social network for Scottish professionals, aims to help Scotland based professionals and overseas Scots to network together.
We met founder Brian Halferty earlier in the year when the site has just opened up to a private alpha, things were very optimistic and Brian was expanding their team. Last week, Kiltr has finally opened up to a public beta.
So why do we need another social network you ask? Well, when we asked Brian, his vision for was site was to reach people that might be slightly scared of the major social networks. It’s not really aimed people who tweet constantly but people outside of IT or of the older generation, who might want to get involved in social networks, but don’t know how to, or feel that Facebook might be for the young ‘uns.
On arriving to the Kiltr website, you can use your linkedin, twitter, Facebook or Google account to sign in. I used Linkedin, just because it seemed cleaner to link all my professional accounts together. The site then brings up the familiar status update interface that you’ve seen in other social networks. One thing that i do like is the fuzziness of the “status box”: you can specify whether you want to share a status update, a job, a thought or a question and who with in two simple drop down boxes. Its quick and easy. Facebook privacy settings eat your heart out.
After that, you can view the Network activity, who has viewed your profile, find lists of people, groups, organisations, events and products that might be of interest. You can also “check in” your location, although i’m not sure what i can do geo-location wise beyond that.
Adding people seemed to be relatively simple – none of that linkedin – “how do you know each other?” mess, just a simple add connection. Although at the time, i had to click several times before the add request seemed to go through; that and the fact that the list of connections only tell you the people’s titles only so there seems to be lots of Managing Directors and CEOs, but I have no idea what they are the head of. It shouldn’t surprise you, but there are quite a lot of the business community here already.
As with any social network, it requires you to invest time into it to make it worthwhile. I have to say, as I’m looking around, I question myself on how much time I can devote to pruning and maintaining a whole network on Kiltr on top of all the other social networks that I’m on. I’m assuming that social media consultants would just give me generic advice like “make sure you be very specific and target what you want to do on what network and allocate time appropriately” but all the same, it’s getting increasingly challenging to find a right balance between virtual networking and physical networking (both have its advantages).
Despite that, and without sounding sale-sy, Kiltr does look distinct and worthwhile enough to spend time on. To me, the niche aspect means that it does a better job of merging the virtual and physical worlds together because I might be more likely to meet these connections in real life (by virtue of physicality). So check it out. And please be my friend …