There are social networks and then there are social networks aimed at the business sector looking to brand and enterprise anything they touch. Fusings may not be completely corporate in its feel, adapting the Pinterest look to “Building a better professional brand,“ but it’s close.
Visiting the site, you encounter a tiled layout which has become common place among likeminded sites. The tiles, or fuses, currently rely on two elements, ‘themes’ and ‘ideas’, to drive the company’s philosophy. Themes are words or phrases in solid colors which describe specific examples, such as links to blog posts, pictures, podcasts, etc. While Fusings, as a whole, isn’t complicated, it still isn’t a site that can be described in one sentence. It’s a site and service you have to use to fully understand.
Sam Melvin, who does community outreach (among other things) for Fusings, explains how he sees the company fitting between all the different networking sites currently fighting for people’s time.
…Millions of people are using Pinterest to ‘brand’ themselves online by pinning a ‘pretty’ or ‘cool’ picture to their board, so people can see what they like, or how they see things. We are doing that same thing for professionals - allowing them to brand themselves by FUSING together their perspective on a topic that they have experience with. At this point, LinkedIn is ‘the’ online resume - it is very helpful to see what projects Johnny has worked on and how often he got promoted. BUT, what is his perspective on software development?
The way it works, when you land on the homepage, you might see a tile labeled “Product Development” which has 3 themes and 11 labels. Clicking on the tile shows another page of multi-shaped squares, some with links to blog posts, others with words like "Ship before you build.” When you hover over the word squares, the un-applicable ones gray out, leaving you with related tiles. After signing in and starting a fuse, you can add content by pasting a URL to any desired item, then resize the square based on its importance to your objective. Trying it out, I pasted links to different albums on iTunes and it perfectly pulled in the cover art rather than other random images. It took only a few minutes to create a fuse titled ‘Best Music of 2013 So Far’.
You can create and edit fuses for free, but the company has a premium tier for $9/mo which lets you embed fuses on Facebook and your personal site as well as access to analytics for fuses.
The concept is an interesting idea, taking different items from around the web, and using them to visually brand yourself with perspectives on pretty much anything. But the real question is, can a site that demands some level of creativity convince the often boring and linear thinking enterprise world to adopt it and give it a chance.