If you are a devotee of Facebook or Myspace, I have a message for you
There is a World Outside Your Fishtank
Within “blogging” social networks I have been pushing to have a reason to add someone as a friend for a long time. Blog broadcasts, built in feed readers and OPML will eventually provide a reason to join communities.
I know that MyBlogLog are planning to also launch something similar and I have a feeling this will likely kick off more people claiming Blogcatalog is just a copycat of Mybloglog.
I first had a sneak peak at the Dashboard a few days ago and gave Tony from Blogcatalog a lot of ideas for features, such as:-
- adding snippets to the social news items, Digg buttons (title, desciption and button = old Digg Interface… yay!)
- merging URLs from multiple submissions
- pulling in friends from all your social profiles
The thing is, Blogcatalog was already collecting feed items, and displaying those from the communities you joined, and there was also a need to somehow draw other discussions taking palce on Blogcatalog into a single portal – discussions – groups – broadcasts
The social profiles have been available for some time, it is just they weren’t being used effectively, and because there was not such a purpose in updating the profiles (unless you know a little about SEO, branding and reputation management), it actually makes testing and reviewing the new features difficult.
So what is really needed is for people who have Blogcatalog accounts to add their social profile information until such time as friend data is being pulled in from places like Twitter directly through their API.
Then again, you might not want to see all the updates from that many friends all on one page – it is something that needs careful thinking about, and I have some ideas I need to map out for the development guys.
Note: I would certainly look on this interface as alpha or beta stage – as more data gets added, it is certainly going to get crowded, and I have also noted some delays in updates, though that appears to be an internal bug, as the data does seem to be fetched to other pages.
I am certainly not perfect and missed something whilst digging around, which was actually mentioned in the full announcement on the Blogcatalog boards.
This is I suppose one of the negatives of previewing something before the official announcement, and wanting to post early.
With the dashboard settings, you can choose to follow the social graph of up to 40? people – as I didn’t spot this on my own, maybe something needs to be made a little clearer for new users.
You also have full control of both what you see and what you share with others
I would of course like the option to see all of my contacts on every service, and all my friends on Blogcatalog, with an option to create multiple views depending on how much noise I have time for.
There is even enhanced privacy, allowing you to selectively remove items you don’t want shared.
When you look at the combined data, it can get a little scary – this is all public data, and it hasn’t taken much to combine it and create an overall personal online profile of all your activities, even those that might normally be slightly more hidden, such as stumbling a friends blog in a topic you might not normally be associated with.
The interface is actually a lot more complete than I first of all realised.
As usual I am trying to give balanced coverage, Mybloglog had an article all to themselves the other day.
Specific dislosure:- Since July 2007 I have had some financial involvement with Blogcatalog as a consultant, though I try hard to give fair and equal coverage to their competitors.