How difficult is it to find time for that monthly meetup? Or that professional networking event you’d been planning to go to but a last minute proposal came up in work? So why not network on the fly, why not take a minute on your morning commute to find a couple of interesting professionals to chat, exchange ideas and drink coffee with?
This is exactly the solution that Shapr offers a those of us with too much to do and not enough time to meet new people. I will admit to being skeptical when I was introduced to “Tinder for professional networking” but it works, and not just works, it works really well!
How is it supposed work?
Getting started with Shapr is as simple as every UI should be. Upload your profile picture, add in your job experiences (which can be imported from LinkedIn), now select what interests you have and away you go. Every day you’re provided with 15-20 people who share some interests with you and are often within a handy distance. Just like Tinder, check out the person’s profile, see what their interests are and if they pique your interest, swipe right. If they swipe back, you get a match and strike up a conversation.
How does it actually work?
While getting started is easy and your first few days are exciting, you do quickly run into a few issues. The first being the low number of active local users. After a week of use coming from Dublin, it was noticeable how the app began to suggest people from Belfast, Newcastle and even London. Obviously this issue will sort itself out as more people download the app but right now it’s a bug bear. The other issue I’ve come across is it’s not always a social networking platform first. This can often be forgotten with people who open their conversations with a sales pitch. It’s important to remember, if you swipe right, do it to learn more about the person or the industry. Do not open with “could you introduce me to someone I can pitch my product to”.
So Is Shapr Good For Something?
Well, yes! While the app does have some issues, most of them can be ignored or will disappear due to user growth. Since I joined the platform in September, I’ve had a hundred matches, 29 conversations and 5 meet ups. The results have varied, from conversations that never get passed pleasantries, to genuine connections and great meetups. For example, I’ve discussed the culture of entrepreneurship in different nations with matches from different countries over coffee and learned about life is like working in an Indian startup.
One recurring theme I’ve seen on the platform is people using Shapr to build a network in a new city. The most interesting and often avid users are new to Dublin, looking to learn more about the culture and often ask insightful questions about local meetups. This has once or twice led me to asking myself serious questions about how much I utilise the local ecosystem, why I don’t use it more and encouraging myself to be more engaged.
Why Should You Use It?
This is a great opportunity to utilise your downtime. Similar to learning through podcasts, networking on the go is the perfect opportunity to advance your career, learn about new cultures, topics and make friends with just a swipe of your finger. If you’re new to a city, Shapr is the third app you should download, after the local transit app and a decent city guide. The best way to find your way around a new city is to ask locals this your opportunity to do just that and much more!
What other apps are great for organising meetups or making new connections on the move? Let us know your suggestions!