The Social Networker

by Chris Miller at 02:34:00 PM on Wednesday, September 19th, 2007
I promised a full review in a day or so.  I think I can make it happen even faster. This whole idea has a long way to go.  I do not do well with sports analogies, but they are on the 20 yard line in their own end, 4th and 40 yards to go to get half way there and just threw a hail mary pass to someone.  anyone.  But the quarterback that threw it, tossed it right into the ground, hard.

Let's start simple:
  •  With the number of Yahoo Widgets available, you would think they would find a way to port those over and offer an incredible set of cool toys to start.  This would get them closer to that application offering that Facebook can't seem to stop growing.  Expose what you already have is key here.  I didn't even notice the small text line to find other widgets the first time in.  I thought it only had the 10 that were in the drop down.  Guess what, there was only like 52 in the catalog and quite a few called test.  ugh.
  • There is not a built in Yahoo Messenger widget.  Come on now, you offer one of the better single chat network products and don't even have that on by default?  Shame on you Yahoo .
  • Customization of the layout/color/style - this is not easy for novice users.  They had a box at the bottom to add colors and change CSS.  What happened to point and click color wheels or importing of templates.  Steal some stuff from Yahoo 360 to let your users go crazy.   Here is a screenshot of the customization window.  You can also drag around the components and set them in the order you wish.  I found I had to double click to work while in profile edit mode.  So the beginner user will need some instruction instead of a simple click and drag approach.  You can apparently click the faint squares to change the color with a color wheel.  it appeared to me you needed the darn hex of the colors, but it populates it for you.  The borders are very thin when colored but the advanced CSS will take care of that.
Image:Yahoo Mash is more of a smooshing sound
  • There is a module for  RSS feeds pulls from your other sites.  I do not think they get it here.  People are consolidating sites back down from all the networks and picking their favorite.  You already have large userbase of email and chat users. Let them log in once to you, pull all their other feeds into one (see my buddies at Profilactic, Jaiku and a few others I will discuss) and then export that final feed out.  All their friends get to subscribe once and you get the traffic.   There is a Flickr RSS feed I noticed and humorously it was just a standard box asking for the URL.  Having it do a name lookup would be easier for the user.
  • You do get to assign tags to yourself.  Also, allow others to do so.  Not a bad plan.  Keep in mind all the tags I placed with spaces got merged together.  So some standard naming scheme would be nice.  Otherwise we will have crammed together, dashes and underlines between the same tags and no one will find each other.
  • Avatars versus photos.  While I have a Yahoo avatar assigned, it would not easily let me pick it.  Sure it took me to the Yahoo avatar page, but I couldn't grab the one my chat client already loses.  Points off for that.  You can upload a photo.  Users will find the selection box confusing however unless you read carefully.  You could accidentally change all your profiles in Yahoo.
  • Mash keeps a page revision history for you, but in a weird place.  Not the settings page, but right on your profile view of yourself when you are logged in.
  • Now they do have an idea of Twitter on the site called Pulse.  Not too compelling yet and you can see 'blurts" or updates from friends.  But there is no global or channel ability it seems like Jaiku.

So overall the site really needs some work to catch up, promote and be the place, well to be.  Yahoo is taking a chance here starting from scratch and not trying to buy someone.  I am sure once the beta tag is removed I will revisit it.

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Yes this is a blatant theft of the outline that Jess uses on her page, but I asked permission. Why?? Because I am a hardcore admin and can make ugly tables to make you developers frustrated, but this was too nice to pass up.

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