Banyan Netfaqs, the publisher of Afaqs.com, Afaqs Reporter and TheMobileIndian.com has launched a micro-networking site for the advertising, marketing and media community in India at ThePodium.in, reports Indiadigitalreview. The website, which is currently in Beta, allows media professionals to connect with each other by sharing ideas within the community.

User Experience

The website asks users to fill the sign-up form for registration. Note that it does not support Facebook Connect which allows users to sign in using their Facebook identity. Once signed up, users can either fill in their career and educational details or import them from their LinkedIn profile to ThePodium. Unlike LinkedIn, the site’s approach to UI is more informal and instead of a list of experience summary. educational qualifications, and other details, it’s a page scattered with widgets in different colours on a pin-board. Also, the only way to discover and connect with other professionals is to search their name in the search box. The site does not offer suggestions or displays profiles of recently added users.

On ThePodium.in, users can share what they’re upto, similar to status updates on Facebook. There’s no character limit for the status update. Friends of the users can like or comment on the post. However, we observed that the experience to comment is not as smooth as Facebook and the website throws a popup in case one has to post a comment on the status update.

Apart from that, users can also share their favorite articles, Campaigns, Presentations (.ppt, .pdf, .doc), and Videos. ThePodium only supports Youtube video links for now. Apart from that, users can import their twitter updates on the website. Interestingly, ThePodium seems to import tweets without verifying the identify of the user – it just asks users to enter their Twitter user name and imports the last three updates on their profile.

The website also features a section to display people who work in the same company. We tested the feature here and it worked as promised.

The need

According to Sandeep Vij, Co Founder and Director of Afaqs, there are around 600,000 to 800,000 media professionals, however, there’s no platform for them to communicate or connect. Although there are Facebook groups and communities like Media MovementsPR/CorpComm/Journalism India, and LinkedIn, where these professionals connect, there’s no independent dedicated website for the purpose. However, we’re not sure if media professionals would care to sign-up and connect on a brand new platform, when they’re already active on social networks. It would also be interesting to see if it could serve as a job board catering to the community, in the future. On an aside, we found that the site has not been optimized for mobile phones. We wonder if there’s a need for a new professional networking site targeted at media professionals. What do you think?

Anupam Saxena also contributed to this post