Social networking site bebo has announced its first Antipodean appointment. According to The Australian IT of Tuesday, July 10 (p 30, Ambition section), there is now an in-country General Manager of operations in Australia and NZ, Francisco Codero.

His name is actually Cordero, not Codero, but you wouldn’t have known that from the prominent story in the The Australian IT (item does not seem to be online) or the websites and blogs picking up the pr release. I couldn’t check against bebo’s own press releases, because curiously this item doesn’t rate a mention on the company’s “bebo in the News” page. I checked on LinkedIn and on bebo – the spelling is Cordero.

But while I think it’s a good idea when you are issuing a press release about an ostensibly key appointment that you do what you can to make sure the media spells the person’s name correctly, my interest in the announcement was because for some time now I have been interested in the possibilities for bebo as a social networking platform in a business context.

bebo VP Development and Sales, Jim Scheinman, whose presentation I attended at the ad:tech Sydney conference in February and with whom I spoke briefly afterwards, suggested to me that bebo had a lot going for it as a social networking platform for a wide range of groups and that its tools could work well for various groups, not just for teenagers but for any age group and interest group.

Since then, going on what Jim had said, I have been encouraging business people to have a look at bebo and see if it could help them.

Des Walsh

But until now, although I have a bebo ‘web badge’ as depicted here, I haven’t put any energy into my bebo membership, other than to put up some profile information and a picture. 

So today I spent some time trying to figure out how I could use bebo, say as a way of forming communities of interest or groups, such as is quite easy to do with applications like Facebook, Ning or Tangler. I have to say I did not find it at all friendly to the purpose.

Nor could I find an online guide as to how to use bebo effectively.

I realise that as a “digital immigrant” I am dependent on such devices as manuals and how-tos, so my reaction was that bebo is designed for the digital natives who have no need of such props. I know from the friends I found on bebo that there are quite a few members who are by no means teenagers any more. How much or little use they make of bebo I don’t know. But I have to say that on the strength of today’s exploration, bebo is not something I see – just yet anyway – as a useful platform for, say, baby boomer executives looking for an intuitively usable, business-focused, social networking platform.

If I’m missing something, I’m happy to be corrected and provide further information.

I still wish Francisco C. all the best in his new role. The item in the Australian quotes him as declaring himself half Spanish and half Irish. Which, given that bebo is evidently hugely successful with the Irish, probably bodes well for him and bebo downunder.

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