Useful social network, or waste of time?
February 28, 2013 1:45 PM   Subscribe

What is

I am a college professor and, as it happens, I am on the job market. Even though I am seriously considering leaving academia entirely, I am still applying to academic jobs in my field, and am also generally interested in careers/jobs in which my advanced degree is an asset.

Today, I received an auto-generated email from the website FacultyRow, in which I was informed that I am "being reviewed for Super Professors," a subsection of this site which apparently promotes and praises certain professors for ... reasons or criteria which are unclear to me.

I poked around on the site, and can't really figure the thing out. It does not seem to be a scam or a lie, but there's something about it that seems rinky-dink to me. Does anyone know anything about this site? Is it worth registering for it? Are there actual, measurable benefits?

I ask because I can use all the connections I can get: not only am I possibly changing careers, but I'll soon be moving to a yet-to-be-determined location. I've even bitten the bullet and jumped into professional social networking (LinkedIn), something I've avoided for years. (No Facebook for me, thanks.) If FacultyRow is legit AND useful, then I'll consider signing up, because having more connections is better than having fewer connections.

Any opinions welcome!
posted by Dr. Wu to Work & Money (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I should add that the only things I've turned up via cursory Googling are press-release-type announcements about/from FacultyRow itself, and these are not very useful.
posted by Dr. Wu at 2:13 PM on February 28, 2013

I've never heard of it (though I'm a graduate student) - most of the academic online networking I know of goes through and/or Or regular networks, like Linkedin, facebook, and google+.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:17 PM on February 28, 2013

I'm an academic, and I've never heard of it.

It might be legit but not useful. This is kind of a problem for any sort of new entry into the already oversaturated social-networking scene: in order to get users, you ahve to be useful, and in order to be useful, you have to have users. If they're a new or slow-to-get-off-the-ground concern, they may be tapping you (and others) in an attempt to build up their userbase. If they're not asking for money, it's probably harmless but unlikely to be helpful.
posted by jackbishop at 7:18 PM on February 28, 2013

Academic. Never heard of it.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 2:26 AM on March 1, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks, all. Looks like I won't be signing up for this one, but I will surely check out and
posted by Dr. Wu at 11:43 AM on March 1, 2013

Almost all the academic online networking I know is via Twitter. I use Mendeley but I don't consider it a social networking tool per se.
posted by grouse at 2:47 PM on March 1, 2013

I have something to add about FacultyRow. It is run by a guy called Jeffrey Finder who is a former institutional broker at global investment bank Oppenheimer. According to FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), his registration was suspended in May 2010 for "failure to comply with an arbitration award or settlement agreement or to satisfactorily respond to FINRA requests to provide information concerning the status of compliance" ( However, it seems he was not involved in any serious fraud or deception while a member of FINRA.

It is reported that FacultyRow has a membership of 100,000 at $199 each per year (or $299 for 2 years) and I think the question to be asked is what members get for that money. I could call you a Super Professor, but would that mean anything if I was not qualified to select you as a candidate? I think the only way to establish whether this organisation will be of help to you is to write to a few of the "Super Professors" in your field and ask them whether it has worked for them and was worth the cost.
posted by SharonD at 5:42 AM on November 21, 2013

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