The new iOS app nextSociety (also known as xS) wants to make you a better networker. It can help you identify the LinkedIn contacts with whom you have the most in common. But for now, that looks like the app’s only real benefit.
Think of nextSociety, which is only available for iOS, as an extension of your LinkedIn network. After you sign into your LinkedIn account, you tell nextSociety the topics you’re most interested in, such as social media, technology and startups.
Then the app organizes your contacts, showing you the people in your network who are most closely aligned with your interests. The app assigns each person a relevance score. For example, a former colleague of mine who shares my stated interests received a 96 percent relevance score.
The app also places a red “1” indicator next to those who are nearby and could be available for actual face-to-face networking, which includes those with whom you might connect on an upcoming trip.
So what else does nextSociety do? If a contact lives nearby, you can tap to “meet up” and add that person to your nextSociety agenda. Or you can tap another icon and “reach out” to your contact via a LinkedIn message.
There are other features, but most either didn’t work or weren’t intuitive.
One of the app’s three screens is a dashboard, but it’s not yet operational. Even though nextSociety is in beta, it’s unusual to release an app with one of its three content screens MIA.
Also, you can tap to add upcoming trips to the app. I see no value in this feature, however. For instance, it would be helpful, after adding a trip to New York, to see a list of my LinkedIn contacts in the NYC metro area. But at least in this iteration, nextSociety offered me no such visibility.
In my opinion, Tempo, a smart calendar app for iOS, is much more useful. It does a great job integrating your contact information and social media connections with your calendar appointments, to provide useful context on the people you’re about to see in meetings. To compete with the likes of Tempo, nextSociety, which has a nice interface, needs more features and functionality.
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.