The Student
Features
Is Bumble changing the face of networking?
by Bea Bray, 14/03/18

In 2017, there were approximately 197 billion app downloads worldwide, highlighting just how popular mobile apps are becoming. Bumble formed a big part of this, with 22 million registered users, and over $100 million in sales between 2016 and 2017 demonstrating it clearly to be a force to be reckoned with.

So what exactly is Bumble, and why has it risen to success so quickly? Bumble was founded by Whitney Wolfe Herd in 2014, and quickly became one of the most popular social networking apps. This is illustrated by Herd’s feature on the cover of Forbes 30 under 30 issue in December 2017, just three years after the app was first developed. Initially only a dating app, Bumble allows women to make the first move, described by Whitney Wolfe Herd as “the first dating app where women call the shots”. Like similar apps, the process begins by swiping left for someone you do not like, and right for someone you do. However, the first message has to be sent by the woman. This was initially aimed at avoiding unsolicited messages which are common when using other dating apps such as Tinder, and making online dating more relaxed and comfortable for women.

However, as it has become more popular, Bumble has developed to have more and more non-dating features. The BFF mode, for example, allows users to swipe left or right for a potential match, but with the aim of finding friendship rather than a romantic relationship. Although this feature is newly developed, it has already been tried by over three million users, making new friendships more accessible worldwide.

Alongside this feature, the newest networking element, Bumble Bizz, has recently launched. First announced last July, this mode of the app is designed for professional networking and mentoring while still allowing women to take the initiative in starting a conversation. The Bizz function allows users to upload their CV, skills, and examples of their own work. Standing out from competitors such as LinkedIn, Bumble Bizz aims to give people the opportunity to network and mentor rather than just recruit or job-search.

Herd claims that Bumble takes out “the soliciting nature and the sexism that exists in networking”, pushing for a more feminist approach. By offering women an opportunity to speak first, Bumble has developed into an app which has changed the face of social interaction. With the rise of technology and the smartphone, perhaps Bumble has created the future of networking for women.

So, what could you do to maximise your potential on an app like this? Bumble HQ use data analysis to work out the best possible ways to start a conversation on Bumble. They say that the most successful first messages contain 10 to 15 words, and the optimum time to make the first move is between 8pm and 10pm on a Sunday. With such vast accessibility of internet connection and technology, it seems that perhaps apps such as Bumble are paving the road towards a more digitalised way of networking and social interaction on a global scale.

The impact of this is huge, in that networking has never been so easy. Being a university student, sometimes the prospect of networking without connections can be daunting, and Bumble is starting to allow for change to this mentality. Through all three of its modes, Bumble is opening up more opportunities for both men and women all over the world, making social interaction more accessible and easy.

Image: meli.be