Dating app Bumble is branching out into professional networking – with an extra safety measure to prevent the kind of sexual harassment found on other networking sites like LinkedIn.
The new feature, Bumble Bizz, allows users to make a professional profile with their career aspirations and past jobs to find possible connections in their area. Just like Bumble’s dating feature, if a man and a woman both swipe right and match on Bumble Bizz, only the woman can start the conversation. If the match is between two people of the same sex, either party can message first.
This is not Bumble’s first excursion out of the dating app territory. In March 2016, it launched Bumble BFF to help its users meet new, platonic friends in their geographical location rather than romantic partners.
Still, Bumble’s move to serve as a tool for a user’s personal and professional lives is intriguing. As more high-profile allegations of sexual harassment come out every day, often from women seeking mentorship from prominent men in their field, could Bumble Bizz make networking safer for women? Or will its primary identity as a dating app further blur the line between who is a professional contact and who is a romantic prospect?
Meghna Virick, director of the School of Management at San Jose State University’s Lucas College of Business
Fred Feinberg, professor of marketing at University of Michigan; he researches dating sites and dating apps