How Much Is Too Much?
It may seem there are already too many social media networks to keep track of: LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Quora, Foursquare, YouTube, Diaspora, and UnThink just to name a few. But that is not stopping Microsoft which has been rumored to be working on a social media network of its own and now appears poised to release it at least as a test-run.
It’s called Microsoft Socl (at least for now) and it promises some features social media users are accustomed too and others which seem a little more original. They better hope they can offer something original if they expect users to be interested. With the ability to reach ONE BILLION people using just the top four most popular serves (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube) there is not much reason to extend your reach further than that unless you are pursuing a very specific user niche. You can certainly target your social media efforts if that is what you want to do, but an audience of ONE BILLION people is nothing to sneeze at. That’s a fairly sizable portion of the human population.
Microsoft can be forgiven for wanting to jump into the existing social media pool. Google has had significant success with Google+ and Facebook is generating millions in revenue as the king of social media. There is definitely money to be made with social media. Plus, by NOT getting involved with social media Microsoft looks a little backward; a little too 20th Century. They can also follow the lead of Google and use their new social media network to unify their multitude of products and services, including their floundering search engine, Bing. For this reason alone Microsoft should at least make an attempt at operating a successful social media network. Whether or not they can create a successful social media network, one that is full of new and innovative features that astound and amaze users, will be the key.
But do they know what those features are?
That’s a big question that they no doubt have been reminding themselves of, over and over again. At least, I hope they have.
Just looking at the pictures of the site it is hard to not be reminded of Facebook, and Google+. You see a bar across the top with a search feature, and three vertical columns on the body of the page. In the middle of the page is your news feed, and navigation options are on the left. The design of Socl isn’t going to win any creativity awards, but maybe Socl will be less about form and more about function.
The right column is dedicated to “video parties”, which might be the key feature of the service. Unlike Google+ and Facebook video chatting “video parties” seem to be more about enjoying content with your friends. For example if you found an amazing viral video that you wanted to watch with your friends you could invite them to a party and watch it together. If done properly we think this feature alone might be worth trying out Socl.
It also seems as though Socl is trying to be make social searching the focus of site. The site encourages you to ask your friends questions, it does this by making the default status update in the form of a question. This feature sounds like it might be a healthy combination of Quora and Facebook, asking a question you want an answer to, but asking your friends, and not the general public.
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