Business Exchange: Social Media Site for Business People

Business Exchange Social Media site

BusinessWeek has launched a social media site called Business Exchange.  It’s a combination of bookmarking and social networking.

The site is a little like Delicious, Digg and Facebook all rolled into one.  But Business Exchange has a certain gravitas and serious business tone.  Unlike Facebook or other social media sites that started out as consumer sites, you don’t have to suffer through being poked or chased by vampires or other distractions.

Business Exchange lets users bookmark business news, blog articles, tools and other online resources to share with others.  The site is arranged according to topics.  Topics can be broad functional areas, such as Business Law, Small Business Marketing, and Search Engine Optimization.  Or the topics can be more specific and timely, such as:  Lehman Brothers, Fed Bailing out Bear Stearns, and even Starbucks.

You can also suggest new topics, subject to administrative approval:

Just about any format of online content can be bookmarked and saved — news items, blog articles, videos, tools, white papers.  Readers can comment on news items submitted, too.

When you first register at the site you set up a profile.  If you are a member of LinkedIn, you can import your LinkedIn profile to save duplicate effort in filling out a new profile.

Another feature of the site allows you to add to your network on the site by “following” other business people using Business Exchange.  It looks like there are already industry leaders such as John Battelle and John Jantsch using the site, as well as numerous BusinessWeek editors and writers.

You can see the topics each person is interested in and their recent activity.  That way, if you want to bring a certain article or blog post to the attention of someone else in the network, you could save content under the topics they follow.  As of this writing, there is no way to connect with other people directly in the site via messaging or other communications, however.

To further share content, there is a widget you can embed in your site that displays your latest activity, including the content you’ve saved.  I am using the widget over the right sidebar — here’s a non-interactive image of the widget:

Business Exchange interactive widget

According to the press release, content shared in the Business Exchange has the potential to be highlighted in the print editions of BusinessWeek, too.

Right now the site is still in Beta.  Beta means that some functions are still being tested and all features may not be rolled out or may be subject to modification.  There is a link at the top right corner of each page where you can submit feedback.

Business Exchange is an example of the way forward-thinking media companies are interacting with customers and the public in sharing information.  The idea is to engage readers and add value by providing a helpful information management tool they can use.


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

19 Reactions
  1. This looks good. I’m not sure about relevance for small (very tiny) business in the UK but I’ll definitely keep an eye on it.
    Just a thought though. Could you or one of your colleagues do a post about how to limit your networking?
    Yes, I know networking is good but so is chocolate and too much chocolate makes you sick. Too much networking makes you …?
    I think the answer to that is “ineffective” in that you’re not really networking but just going through the motions of remaining in contact on facebook, LinkedIn, EnterpriseWomen, Chamber of Commerce and so on.

  2. Looks nice, I’m going to go check it out. The widget’s a cool function and so is the ability to import your LinkedIn profile.

  3. The site looks like a nice place to find valuable information and articles. It’s easy to navigate and search thru also. Ease of use is most important to me. I’ll have to consider using the site to find topics to expand on in my blog.

  4. Interesting idea for BusinessWeek and a good way for them to track their readers likes and dislikes in order to present more targeted stories for their readers. What I don’t quite get is why I would add another social media site like this if I already have a LinkedIn and Facebook account?

  5. Hi JB,

    That’s a great question, and if this were just another average, garden variety “social media” site my answer would be, “hmm, I have better things to do.”

    However, in the case of Business Exchange my answer is: this is the kind of social media/networking site I want to make time for.

    I look on high-quality, targeted social media sites as:

    (a) opening up a new network of people I might not ever encounter in a meaningful way on Facebook or LinkedIn, and

    (b) offering up branding visibility in new places for me personally and for my business.

    Either of the above two reasons alone are worth it, and together they are a home run (to use an American baseball metaphor).

    For instance, where else might I ever be able to connect with BusinessWeek editors? I am not connected to any on Facebook or LinkedIn.

    Thanks for raising this point — I have gotten a little “social media fatigue”. But in this case I am prety excited by the potential for business people to participate.


  6. I have created a profile on Business Week’s Exchange. Anita: Do you know how I get my own widget? I grabbed yours and added it to my blog template.

    I received an email Michelle Lockett, Senior User Participation Manager, regarding my suggestion for a new topic (Theory of Constraints). I have to learn the ropes… 😉

  7. Thanks Anita! You hit it for me with your comment about “social media fatigue,” but I appreciate your insights as to why this one from Business Week is relevant.

  8. Hi Martin, another great question! You guys are keeping me jumping on the comments on this post.

    Yes, you’re right — I see that it’s MY activity shown in the widget, with no obvious way to customize it. Since I was one of the original Beta users invited to try this out, I was provided the widget specially.

    I am assuming that eventually everyone who registers will be able to get a widget that displays his or her own activity. That may be a feature they plan to roll out publicly later on.

    But I’ll see if I can find out the answer, and will update this post.


  9. Anita,

    I, too, suffer “social media fatigue” and wonder where to draw the line.

    You say that the Business Exchange offers two advantages (a) opening up a new network of people, and (b) offering up branding visibility in new places.

    Isn’t that true of any network? Isn’t it really that you value the new network of people and branding visibility as being more valuable, either because of the Business Week name or for some other subjective reason?

  10. Hi David (Business Attorney),

    I happily plead “guilty.” Yes, that’s exactly the case. I value the connections and branding visibility of this particular social media network.

    We make judgments all day long about which magazines to read, which websites to visit, which conferences to attend, which products to buy, etc. All such judgments are subjective. In such cases I may look at the brand, the people I have the opportunity to network with, and other factors.

    So, yes, I find this particular social media site valuable, whereas I would not find the same value in joining MySpace or Orkut or some other more general social network. When faced with social media fatigue, I become much much more selective.

    — Anita

  11. Anita,

    Did you find the answer regarding the widget? I wonder if other business magazines, e.g. The Economist will come up with something similar?

    I have a bit of social media “fatigue” too. I haven’t logged in at my Facebook account for weeks and I can’t get the Twitter and Plurk messages rolling… I recently signed up for Swurl. Do you have any opinion on this site? I think I will be more active with different micro blogging sites when I start up my podcasting show again. Then I could write short messages about future quests, topics, ask for questions and feedback, etc.

    By the way: Do you have suggestions for a new mobile phone? Please read my latest post, Mobile Talk on Tech Tuesday. Ah Eureka, I will Twitter about this 😉

  12. In regard to social fatigue, here’s my slogan for Linkedin: Many have joined. Few know why.

  13. Hi Martin, haven’t found out the widget answer yet. Will update you when I do.

    Regarding Swurl, it looks like a prettier version of FriendFeed. But I will not be trying it out. It doesn’t offer enough differentiation from FriendFeed, Tumblr, etc.

    And you see, that’s where social media fatigue comes in. When people become fatigued, they lose all tolerance to try newcomers unless those newcomers are heads above any existing solution — or unless the newcomers offer something very different or something the user values specifically (like the business-focus I value in BusinessExchange).



    Hi Martin and anyone else interested in the widget:

    I heard back from the people at Business Exchange. They are working on some issues with regard to the personalized widget that will display your favorites and your topics. They expect it to be ready within a week or two, to the public.

    — Anita

  15. Anita,

    Thanks for the update regarding the widget.

    I have registered a profile at FriendFeed, but I haven’t got the hang of it yet. After I listened to a podcasting show at Small Business Radio in July with Brian Wallace (“Everyone’s Twittering But Are You Plurking Yet?”), I signed up for Plurk. I like the timeline feature with the possibility to scroll back in the history. As I said in a comment on The App Gap that will give a clue that Twitter will be around for a long time, if you look at previous business ventures.

    “WordPress has become very popular, but please send a mental thank-you note to two of the pioneers in the blogosphere, namely Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan of Pyra Labs. They were the co-founders of Ev Williams then started Twitter”

  16. Jay H. Heyman,

    What’s your email address? I have made a comment on your blog, All You Need Is A Good Idea!

    I registered a profile on LinkedIn some years ago, but I have recently started to use it more, at least as a signature in my email messages. is redirected to my LinkedIn page.

  17. I just came back froms a convention several weeks ago that consisted of some top 100 web-related startups. To make a long story short, almost a 3rd of the startups who attended had a social networking aspect built into their site. Social networking is alive and well and I think its one of the best ways to create a community to further promote an online product/service.

  18. Looks like an interesting service. I will definitely check it out.