What if you could rate a colleague’s performance at work, rate a peer on what you think of them and also get feedback from peers yourself, but all done anonymously? That’s exactly what a new social networking tool called Vibe is bringing to the table.
The New York based startup was founded by two Columbia University undergraduate engineering students – Noah Stebbins and Niger Little-Poole. And according to them Vibe gives a concise summary of feedback from peers tracking specific traits.
“Vibe has two uses, a personal and an interpersonal use. On a personal level, users can view their vibe scores and see how others perceive them. While perception is not truth, the perception others have of you is still very important,” explains Niger Little-Poole, co-founder at Vibe.
What is Vibe?
Vibe integrates your Facebook friends list with the Vibe platform and allows users to give peer reviews, feedback and comments. Once you log in you can rate a person on fourteen traits pre-specified by Vibe.
These range from attractiveness, intelligence and honesty, to fun, approachable and ambitious. Once Vibe receives feedback from all the users, it then calculates the strength in a particular category and rates a person on 10.
“If 100 of your friends believe you to be selfcentered, there is probably some truth to that(or you need better friends!). Vibe exists not to make individuals feel insecure or bad about themselves, but rather as a tool for self improvement and empowerment,” says Niger, who is pursuing a course in Engineering Management Systems at Columbia.
Apart from this, users can also answer questions about Facebook friends, like “Who Takes More Responsibility for Their Mistakes’’, “Who is more likely to pretend to be sick to get out of work,” etc.
The platform also allows friends to rate people on sub-traits based on answers provided by friends. Apart from this, the product also gives you a ‘Global Percentile’, which gives you the score on a particular category as compared to Vibe users globally.
Vibe also has a search feature where users can take a look at the Vibe scores of their Facebook friends and colleagues.
Finally, Vibe gives users ‘points’ for each question of a friend answered by them. The more the points, the more the traits you don’t like that you can hide.
Vibe has invested close to a $1000 in developing the product and wants to be the “Yelp for People”, where “when you first meet someone, you can look up their Vibe scores for specific traits to learn more about that person.”
The startup seeks to give users structured honest feedback based on specific personality traits.
Vibe currently has over a 100 users on the platform, who have generated data on over 1,200 of their Facebook friends.
“A majority of Vibe’s users currently come from New York, while data exists on people around the world, from India to California,” says Niger.
Apart from the personal challenges that the duo faced in developing Vibe, they also had to deal with privacy issues that Vibe would cause.
“There were discussions about not allowing users to hide data at all be we quickly realized it would be unethical and unfair to allow content to be posted about people without their consent. Instead a compromise was established allowing those who have data, but aren’t active to be seen by their Facebook friends,” explains Niger
That way an individual’s Vibe scores are only shared with those they have established relationships with on Facebook, he adds.
Where Vibe can Improve
It would be great to have feedback from colleagues, employers and interviewers. Vibe looks like a pretty promising platform. Right now, it reminds me of how Facebook started way back in 2004.
Sure, it will be a thing that millennials thoroughly enjoy, because it is fun and it is taking stalking to an entirely new level. But if it wants to be more than a fad that people outgrow, it has much to do in terms of product development.
1. Not all the people on a persons 1k long friends list know them personally. How do you count their votes on traits? Shouldn’t there be some sort of filter?
2. The privacy that the platform lends a user is not very convincing. Sure, they are only allowing your Facebook friends to see the data, but again, not all of them are your friends.
3. Most of the questions are not what employers, colleagues or good friends would really spend time on and take seriously. Questions like “How many selfies does so and so take” is fun to answer, but run the danger of being just that.
Vibe plans to expand into a directory than just a question and answer service.
“The idea being that a user can pre screen another user before they engage them in real life. In the near future, the team will look to mobile to see how we can expand our concept to the mobile app market,” says Niger.
Overall, Vibe looks like a pretty interesting social networking tool that can probably be great on a site like LinkedIn where they use endorsements currently. But it definitely has a long way to go and a lot of loopholes to work on.