The Socl Network
Posted by Tara Knott
Have you heard about Socl?
Yeah. Me neither.
Microsoft’s foray into the world of social networking launched yesterday, and until I saw an article on CNN about it this evening, I had never heard a thing about it. Naturally, I was curious, so I decided to check it out for myself.
Granted, I’ve only been playing around with it for a few hours, but I can generally pick things up pretty quickly and I still can’t really figure Socl out.
Part Storify, part Pinterest and part Facebook Groups, Socl enables users to post collages about their interests, from coffee to quantum physics. Those collages can include images and news articles. The concept by itself seems cool enough, right? Pinterest has certainly proven there’s a market for talking about shared interests, and Socl has even taken a cue from Pinterest in giving people the option to view posts from all users or just from the users they’re following.
Creating a post is easy enough. Just go to the search bar at the top and type the title of whatever you want to post about – just like Storify, Socl will automatically pull related search results from Bing (remember, this is a Microsoft-run network) with suggestions for your new post. If you see an image or an article you like, all you have to do is click, and it appears in the post.
But I think where Socl breaks down is its organization. First of all, your options for content seems to be limited to what Bing pulls for you. I couldn’t find a way to upload or hyperlink to content outside Socl’s search.
However, my biggest problem with Socl right now is the posts page (where you can see what other people are posting). Like Pinterest, the page is essentially never-ending; you just keep scrolling down through interests or profiles. Unlike Pinterest, though, the page is incredibly messy, with so many giant images that it just gets overwhelming really quickly.
I think Socl has a lot of potential for improvement, and it’s possible that I’m missing some essential component that would help all of this make sense – if anybody has tips for using the site or there’s a video tutorial somewhere that I haven’t seen, definitely send it my way. Since the site still in the beta stages, I’m excited to see what comes next and how it changes by the time it’s out of the testing phase. Apparently it’s already changed a lot – according to this TechCrunch article, it started off as a research network for students, so who knows what it will look like a few months from now?
Have you checked out Socl? What are your thoughts? Any ideas on how public relations practitioners could leverage the new social site?