I have to admit that when I first heard of Polywork, I was really hesitant to check it out - did I really want to be on just another social network where I would feel obligated to make updates and keep a track of what others are posting? I didn’t think so. But as person who’s always curious and passionate about discovering new products (especially the unconventional ones), I eventually gave in and looked it up.
What really got my attention was the storytelling on their page…
“It’s important the world knows what you can do”
I felt like this messaging really resonated with me. Even with the plethora of social networks that are available to us today, I’ve always felt that none of them do a good job of capturing who we are as real, whole people.
LinkedIn is too professional and career-oriented, while also being a minefield of spam with recruiters and prospective-job seekers fighting for your attention. I really like Twitter but it is too ephemeral in nature. Instagram is well, very visual and there’s way too much happening there.
We all have a multitude of selves within us - each person can have so many different talents, passions, and be skilled in many unique ways, and we’re constantly evolving these selves over time.
We’re all on a perpetual journey towards becoming better versions of ourselves and there’s no single place where we can capture and share this journey. As a result, we end up leaving fragments scattered across the various social networks that we use - definitely not ideal. But there’s been no better way to tell a complete story about ourselves.
This is the problem that I think Polywork solves, so I was naturally thrilled when I discovered how nicely they do this.
On Polywork, I can set up my page to represent who I really am. I can choose from a variety of cool badges to create a picture about me.
From the “Product Strategy” badge and the “Brand Marketing” badge, to the “Bookworm”, “Gardener” and “Overthinker” badges, my Polywork badges help me express my personality without having to worry about how the various parts fit together.
I believe that each human being is a beautifully complicated and messy whole that is SO MUCH greater than the sum of the parts that make them.
I absolutely love that the Polywork team gets this. This is reflected throughout the messaging and the in the way in which they’ve designed Polywork.
My Polywork page also lets me list my current position as well as positions that I have held in the past, over the course of my career. In addition to this, it features a description that I can customize and lists the collaboration opportunities that I am open to (more on that later.)
Aside from my list of positions and the super-versatile collection of badges to choose from, the other thing that gets featured on my Polywork page are Highlights - I treat these as updates about the things I’ve been learning, discovering or just exploring. Like the badges, Highlights let me share relevant events, milestones and thoughts from my journey in a way that feels natural and personal to me.
One of the things I really like about the Highlights feature is how it lets me post Ongoing Highlights - stuff I’m still working on without an exact end date in sight. This is a very practical option to have, since a lot of the creative projects I work on are fluid and flexible, and I like being able to write about them while I’m in process of working on them, rather than waiting until I complete them.
I also find it really cool how I can share a tweet as a Highlight, just by adding the link to it. The tweet neatly renders as an embed within the highlight, saving me the effort of having to take screenshots and add them.
There's also a Collections feature lets you organise Highlights. Although my Highlights don’t always fall into a neat category, I was able to use Collections to create a 2021 year-end Highlight Collection. This is something I might want to continue doing in the years to come - just so it helps me recap and reflect over some of the key moments from my year.
The Polywork feed is a nice and clean section that gives users the option to choose between an “All”, “For you”, and “Following” filters. I also see an option to filter my feed to view updates from people who have specific kind of badges on their profile. This is something that comes in handy for me, when I am looking for opportunities to engage with a specific kind of audience.
I appreciate having this flexibility to choose what I’d like to see in my feed, unlike the chaos I am presented with on algorithm-driven networks like Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram where my feed is littered with “suggested” and “you might like” posts from people I neither follow nor know. Chaotic algorithmic feeds can feel very overwhelming and make it difficult to find the content and connections that add value to your life.
At the risk of sounding like a fangirl, there are two other things that I really, really love about Polywork - these are what make the Polywork experience truly worthwhile for me.
The first is the lack of an ability to like any posts on Polywork.
You read that right - there is simply no way to “like” a post on Polywork. You can leave comments to engage with a post, but that’s about it.
To me, this is reflective of a conscious, thoughtful choice made by the Polywork team. In a world that is increasingly driven by the need for validation, not offering the ability to like posts feels like a refreshing, bold stance that will encourage more people to share their journey without fear of judgement. I believe this is essential to the spirit of Polywork - being able to tell the world who you truly are.
I like how Polywork explained their choice in this tweet response.
The second feature that excites me is a section called ‘Find Collaborators’
This section lets you do exactly what it is called - find people that you would like to collaborate with. Now, I haven’t had the chance to use this feature yet, but as a Product Manager who is currently working on building products that would soon be ready for beta release, I find it really promising. I'm looking forward to using the 'Find Collaborators' section to find people who would be open to beta-testing the products I’m working on.
Polywork appears to make this really simple because you can search for a very specific kind of audience while specifying the kind of collaboration you’re looking for. You can even filter by a specific badge to see a list of people who have that badge on their profile.
So if I’m looking for a specific kind of audience to beta-test new products, not only can I find them with ease, I also get to make sure I am not spamming them since they have expressly specified that they would be open to beta-testing new products.
To me, this is a win-win situation–With this really well thought-through feature, Polywork is able to connect folks who have a specific need with folks who are eager to help with that need.
As someone who has never been a fan of the cold calling approach to collaboration, I can finally hope that I never have to employ it again. And of course, I no longer need to worry about going down the rabbit hole of LinkedIn spam to hunt down that needle in a haystack - that one rare collaboration request that maybe, probably could have been relevant for me?
Finally, while I love Polywork, I believe that it can get even better when there are more of us using it to share our stories and discover meaningful opportunities to collaborate. If some of these ideas resonate with you, use my invite link to skip the line and join me on Polywork. I look forward to seeing you (and maybe even collaborating with you) there.