Do you ever find out something about someone that you have known for a long time that surprises you? I just plugged in to Newsle and found out many things about many people whom I count among my friends. Well “friends” may be bit strong a term for some of them. I would say hello if I saw them on the street, let’s go with that. What kinds of things? There is the VP I worked with for seven years who is now an EVP and rated as a “Woman of Influence” according to bizjournals.com. And a woman I graduated high school with who brought a whistleblower case against pharmaceutical giant Amgen, Inc. that was settled at $780M. And my favorite coffee barista who spends his spare time as an auctioneer for notable charities. These intriguing tidbits of knowledge about my good friends and sort-of friends were obtained through the social media source known as Newsle.
How challenging is Newsle to use? Super simple. Falls more into the so-simple-I-wonder-why-I-haven’t-used-it-until-now category, actually. When signing in for the first time, Newsle gives the user the option to sign in through a Facebook or LinkedIn account or to sign up without either. I signed in using my LinkedIn account, and Newsle gave me the option of setting a time limit to how long the Newsle site can access my information. I was then given the option to add my Facebook friends, which I did. I was also given the option to import my personal email contacts, which I did not do. In no time I had a fairly impressive list of news features about my friends. As a bonus I was also given a list of news features about my friend’s friends too. My friends have some very interesting friends, something I always assumed but now know for sure. The option is also given to “follow” other people (politicians, celebs, etc).
Most of the information that Newsle found about my friends is professional, which is not surprising of course. I thought it *might* find something like an obituary of a friend that recently passed away, since it has her location and combs “over 1 million articles daily”. But it didn’t. A quick review of the “About Newsle” blurb shows that Newsle “does not search personal records, criminal records, phone numbers, addresses or other private information.” That is reassuring. Also reassuring is that Newsle promises it will never make entries on your Facebook or LinkedIn accounts without permission, and that it won’t share your personal information such as name or email address (though it might share your IP address). Access to Facebook and LinkedIn can also be closed at any time by the user.
All in all this is a tool that could prove to be very useful professionally, particularly if you don’t really know how far your professional network might reach.