Tag: social networking

HulaHub: Social networking gets more cultured and artsy

Introducing Portland-based HulaHub, a new social networking service—that includes both a Web and iPhone presence—designed to get the art crowd more involved in the social Web.

Most of the social media types I know are a cultured bunch. They know more about movies and music and writing and whatnot than any ten people I know offline. But for all of that brainpower, there’s still a lack of experts with deep knowledge in some areas of the arts.

Long story short, the artists aren’t as involved—or as supported by—social networking as they should be. Until now.

Introducing Portland-based HulaHub, a new social networking service—that includes both a Web and iPhone presence—designed to get the art crowd more involved in the social Web. Read More

Portland on Fire: Lighting it up again

[HTML3]Remember Portland on Fire? That site dedicated to “slow social networking”? It’s okay if you don’t. It’s been awhile.

Let me give you a little refresher. In a day and age where we add friends on social networks willy nilly and engage in any number of online conversations, Raven Zachary saw an opportunity to provide a service that helped you really get to know someone. No following or high scores or anything. And yet, something more than an online profile. Without being overwhelming. One Portland person, per day. That’s Portland on Fire.

Unfortunately, that great idea has been on hiatus. For far too long. So now it’s time to light a fire under, um, Portland on Fire and get this thing going again. Read More

Fuelly: Saving fuel through social networking

FuellyTake two well-known Oregon tech types—Portland’s Matt “matthowie” Haughey (of Metafilter fame) and Corvallis’ Paul Bausch (of Blogger and ORBlogs fame). Give them a problem, like skyrocketing fuel prices. And a couple of weeks.

Shake. Stir. Code. Sprinkle in some social networking and some cutting edge app development and what do you get?

Fuelly, a service designed to help you keep track of your fuel use and improve your fuel economy through social pressure err… networking.

As simple and straightforward apps go, Fuelly is a winner.

Don’t believe me? Well, okay. But maybe you’ll believe Gina Trapani of Lifehacker, who says:

Overall the point of Fuelly is to make saving fuel more fun by connecting your stats with your friends, and at this early point in its life, it does a pretty great job.

What’s that? You need more proof? Man oh man. Gas prices have definitely made you grumpy and cynical.

Okay, how about Get Rich Slowly, which offers:

I think this is a great idea. Fuelly taps the power of the masses to compile real fuel efficiency data so that users can find ways to save money. Brilliant.

With kudos like that, it didn’t take Fuelly long to catch on.

Me? I’m just happy to see these two Oregon folks getting some of the recognition they so richly deserve for solving yet another problem with a simple and thoughtful solution.

I’m looking forward to seeing how Fuelly helps me and my family reduce our fuel consumption.

Fuelly is a site that lets you track, share, and compare your gas mileage. Simply sign up, add a car, and begin tracking your mileage. By recording and analyzing your mileage, you can see how much money you can save with small driving changes. You can also see how your mileage compares with EPA estimates and the mileage of other drivers using Fuelly. Tips and a discussion forum also offer ways to save. The site is free to use, so sign up to start tracking your miles today.

(Hat tip Travis Cannon)

Zloop: Simple social networking for almost anyone

I know. I know. You read the headline and let out an exasperated sigh. Another one? Seriously? But stick with me for a minute or two. Because I honestly think Portland-based Zloop has got something interesting happening.

Zloop helps anyone—and I literally mean anyone—create small social networks. They call them “loops.” And they can be about something extremely limited, like my family, or something larger, like Portland startups. These loops can be created on the fly. And you can belong to as many or as few loops as you like. You can manage multiple profiles, like a personal one, a business one, full details, limited details…

Again, I realize this sounds pretty standard.

But Zloop makes small social network creation so easy that even the ungeekiest person you know could use it. I’m not talking about your coworkers. I’m talking about your parents, your grandparents, your kids. Anyone. It’s like the—and I mean this in only the most positive way possible—the AOL of social network creation.

In fact—like AOL—it, quite simply, may be too easy and seemingly constricted for you to have any interest in it. And that, my friend, is the sheer genius of it.

This isn’t for you and me. You and I can go geek out on Ning or some other existing social network. We can jump on Drupal or slap some Django components together and bang one out. We don’t need simple tools like this.

And that is exactly the point. This is for the other 99.9% of the population. And that’s what I think makes it interesting.

So simple, I’m confused

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Brett Meyers, the community evangelist for Zloop, to talk about their solution and where they were hoping to go with it.

“So how do I find new friends via the interface?” I asked.

“You don’t,” Brett replied.

“So, if I want to join a bunch of different groups…”

“You don’t really do that here.”

“Can I get an RSS feed off of this?”

“No.”

So there I am, sitting there with a confused look on my face. I mean, in terms of Web 2.0 social networking functionality, Zloop wasn’t pushing the envelope. They weren’t even bringing the common, roll-your-own feature set. What they were bringing to the table was, to my Web 2.0 addled brain, boring.

“But… hmm. What about… um,” I said, continuing to struggle.

And that’s when it hit me: some people—arguably the majority of the human race—form “social networks” in an entirely different way than the infinitesimal segment of us Web 2.0-focused geeks do. In real life, it seems, these social networks are actually formed in person.

No, I’m serious.

It seems that there are any number of groups—schools, churches, businesses—where people actually meet and get to know each other in person before they ever think about interacting with one another online.

Weird. But to each his or her own.

And that market—that gigantically broad market—is the group whom Zloop hopes to serve. Or as Brett put it, “We want to provide something that helps strengthen the communities that are already happening in real life.”

Zloop, with their inherent simplicity, their gentle and thoughtful AJAX transitions, and their “just enough” functionality, have some thing very interesting to offer. And that is Zloop’s genius.

Just like a Basecamp or a Twitter, Zloop—at first blush—is both incredibly difficult to explain and seemingly surreptitiously lacking some sort of whiz-bang that would make it of any use whatsoever.

And that’s why I think they’ve got something here. Something simple. Something pared down. Something straightforward. Something for a specific use that applies to a very, very large segment of the population.

Is it cutting edge? Absolutely not. Is it entirely unique? Not by a long shot. Does it have a chance? If they play their cards right, I think it does. A very good one.

If you’re interested in trying Zloop, just let me know by—ironically enough—dropping me an email or sending me a message on Twitter. I’d be more than happy to give you access to Zloop and hear your take on it.

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