While Facebook says “I do”, Microsoft says : ” I object” !
“Oh my God, not another social network site!” Those were our exact thoughts when we first read about Microsofts’s So.cl ( pronounced “social” ) being launched yesterday. With Facebook, Twitter and G+, it is getting rather hectic trying to manage all of one’s accounts. It seems that everyone wants a bite of the social apple, yet their success is bound by either having the backing of a large Internet player, or an idea that introduces something exceptional to the scene. We have previously discussed the two platforms; Pinterest Vs Reddit.
Yesterday, it seems there was a malfunction, and the site that was in beta went live for a brief period of time; not brief enough though since the keen eyes caught up. Apparently, it has been live when first seen, then it has gone to invites for a couple of days and now it is what we have today. Our guess is that the invites had generated enough interest to go live. Is this a successful silent/ accident launch? Hmm, that is quite arguable, but it seems that the So.cl project was being used at Microsoft for months already for internal purposes, so maybe their somewhat of a secretive launch is to test the waters.
Signing up is either with your Windows Live ID or your Facebook account. If you’ve chosen the latter to sign up, you can follow your fellow Facebook buddies that are already using So.cl and then move on to start exploring some suggested topics and popular users.
So.cl combines web browsing, search and social networking with each other, according to Microsoft.
Well, here is So.cl 101:
1. As in any social network, you can follow other users to view their posts in your newsfeed. You also have the option of browsing through the global feed; though we’re not too keen as to how this might work when/if millions of users start posting.
2. Once you find a post that intrigues you, you have 5 options: you can like it, comment on it, tag it, share it or riff it. Since the last one there sounds a bit puzzling, we shall further explain it; riffing a post basically signifies posting a response to that post. For instance, if you see a post full of photos of Amsterdam, you might want to riff it to add your own photos or notes that relate to the original post. A link to the riffed post is added to the original post and vice versa. This works similarly as YouTube’s video response feature.
3. New posts are created by entering a topic of interest into the form at the top of the page. Bing is obviously the search engine behind So.cl; hence you will find images, videos and texts as well as results from feeds in the results’ listing. Content, links and tags can be manually added to your posts as well.
4. One cool feature is the ability to join and create video parties. By doing so, you will be able to create a chat room and add videos to it from various video hosting web sites. Other users can then join this room and chat about the videos that they watch, and add their own videos.
5. A bookmarklet is available that allows you to share content that you stumble upon on the internet directly to So.cl.
The video party idea is quite appealing, but is it enough to captivate let alone drive away the many Facebook fans? Humm, we think not. One disappointment already spotted is the inability to sign out; you can only do so by deleting cookies.
It is recommended of course, that new users check the settings to make sure the notification and privacy settings are to their liking. By default, emails will be sent out on a weekly basis, and notifications will be sent out when someone comments on a post/ search, tags the user, invites/sends a private message.
Well, in order not to be judgmental and prejudice, we’ve created an account to see how it actually goes, have you?
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