Come Together, Right Now, All You Search-Types Flung Across The Web
I have this love/hate relationship with social sites. Clearly. No question. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. The love part is easy: they bring together people from all over the world, you have brilliant, witty discussion, you laugh, you cry, you meet up and drink vodka. What’s not to like? But social networks are also these little islands of isolation, surrounded by those tall chain link fences with the barbed wire on top, and you spend your days running from place to place, seeing who’s where (searching for people alone is tiring) and trying not to get your pant leg caught on one of those barbs. (The throw-the-blanket-over trick you see in the movies doesn’t always work quite as well as you might think.)
Finally, a site has launched that has heard my pleas for joy and harmony and singing on a windswept beach. Or it may have been a grassy hill. I’ve completely gone on a tangent with that chain-linked fence thing, so I’m sure I’ve lost you with the metaphors already in any case.
Sphinn, the new discussion forum/social networking/post submission site from Search Engine Land, warms my cold and cynical social networking-pained soul. As you might imagine, the first flicker of hope and joy comes with the slashes in that description. I understand that social networks can’t be all things to everyone (they are, in that regard, the Abe Lincolns of the web), but it’s nice to see one that makes an effort to bring things together.
The obvious coolness is that brilliant and witty discussion. You can talk about Search Engine Land articles, articles that you’ve submitted from other sites, or just random topics that you want to chat about all in one place. I know that Digg technically lets you discuss submissions, but mostly on Digg, people just vote. This site feels much more like a place for discussion, rather than a quick hit and Digg (or in the case of posts from this site, a quick hit and bury).
And then there’s the profile system. I have often ranted about just how problematic it is to stalk people online. In a previous post, I said I wanted a site that would let me do lots of things including add all my social networking profiles in one place, add all the communities I post on, see my latest blog posts, see my latest comments, have cheesecake anytime I wanted, and walk only on flower petals everywhere I go. Sphinn still has to work on scattering flower petals in my path, but they’ve made a good start on the rest.
Check this out:
You can also see someone’s latest comments, submissions, and Sphinns and can get an RSS feed to keep up with it all. Sphinn even calls this stalking because in addition to reading my blog and making my wishes come true, the folks over there are just that damn funny.
And they’ve got a private messaging system and an events calendar where you can see where everyone’s going to be and lots of happiness like that and it looks like they’re planning to keep evolving it. So I’m just going to continue to complain about my social networking woes here and see if maybe they can get that cheesecake order going for me. It could happen!
I would keep writing about it, but I really have to go now. I need to write another post about my cat so I can submit it to Sphinn and see if I can get the post sphunn up to make my cats famous! Feel free to write your own post about my cats. Here they are.