Online communities have long been at the heart of my small company. Like you, I’ve met many experts and made friends. Before the Facebook Revolution, people used a lot of ancient (in internet time) watering holes, like The WELL and a host of others.
Niche communities have bubbled beneath the surface, often run by major media players, but quietly focused on an industry segment or category.
Toolbox.com is like that. It promises to help professionals do their jobs better. How? It lets you share ideas and research and knowledge with other people in your specialty. Network, find relevant blogs, search for vendors and products in a research directory. Yes, you could just search for things with a search engine, but why not go to a site where they’ve organized it all for you. Toolbox focuses on three functional areas rather than on an industry vertical: IT, HR, and Finance.
From their site: “The Toolbox.com network of online communities enables anyone to access the collective knowledge of a worldwide audience of experienced professionals. Through Toolbox.com, executives and professionals can collaborate with their peers to resolve problems more efficiently, make better decisions by leveraging best practices and lessons learned, and increase their efficiency in the workplace.”
What I like about their site is you can find information from people who really know what they are talking about, without all the sales hype. I like the blogs that they host and encourage. I appreciate the discussion forums and the ability to ask a question in a forum environment where serious experts will often answer your question. What I don’t prefer is that the site seems a bit too slow now that they’ve made changes in design and navigation. And then it presents me with a lot of info, pulled from other areas of the site, and it just seems a bit overwhelming sometimes.
Overall, though, if you need info on technology, on HR, on finance, then Toolbox.com is a site worth checking out. You have to join as a free member to get access and you have to manage the subscriptions (meaning if you don’t want emails you have to make sure you tick the right boxes). They put a lot of effort and care and feeding into the content, some of it paid for by sponsors of ads and whitepapers, and focused on one of those key areas.
Learn more about Toolbox.com.
TJ McCue is the founder of Sales Rescue Team. You can follow him on Twitter.