I’ve begun dabbling in other social networks, just to see what kind of things are popping up now that Facebook had its less-than-stellar IPO. Although I still see Facebook hanging around for quite a while, there are definitely some others that may be worth noting. A couple I’ve been invited to as Klout perks (and I’m a sucker for free stuff and exclusive access) and a couple are already establishing themselves well.
LoveIt touts that it is “your personalized visual community where you can easily share everything that interests you, find people who have similar tastes and discover new things you may not have found otherwise.” That’s all well and good, but I haven’t been able to find a single thing that distinguishes it from Pinterest other than the cute squirrel logo. I came across LoveIt as a Klout perk, gaining early access to it. Once I signed up, It was immediately evident that it was going to be a Pinterest-type site. I gave it a chance though, and began actively searching for things that differentiated it from its predecessor. Now, I understand taking an idea and trying to improve on it with new features or better functionality, but this is not the case. LoveIt is exactly like Pinterest. I can’t find any distinguishing characteristics. If I’m missing something, let me know. Otherwise, if you already have Pinterest, skip this one folks. It’s not worth starting your boards all over again. Sorry LoveIt, you’re just not original enough for me to love it.
Learni.st is another social network that bears similarity to Pinterest. This one, however, makes certain to distinguish itself from its predecessor both in improved functionality and cause. Learni.st is meant to be a learning community. As their help board puts it “Use Learnist to share what you know. Create a Learn Board on a subject you understand and add ‘learnings’ by pointing to existing web videos, blogs, images and documents. Anything.” The site cleverly has an entire section of Learn Boards dedicated solely to the user experience, complete with FAQs, problem reporting, feedback and terms of service. Learni.st is currently in live beta, where you can sign up and use some of the site’s primary functions. You can get full access if someone invites you (see below if you’d like me to send you an invitation to get started!).
There are a handful of key distinguishing factors that I think make Learni.st pretty cool:
- Your interaction is more than just liking or re-adding (i.e. repinning) a post. You can actually check off that you’ve ‘learned’ it, and your profile will keep track of your learning progress in specific categories. In this way, you can actually visually build up your credibility in a category by showing how many blogs you’ve read, videos you’ve watched or articles you’ve perused. You can also check up on others’ progress on their profile and see if they’re a resident expert, or still have some work to put in.
- If someone has a Learn Board that interests you, you can follow and like that board. Even better, if you have something you think would make a great addition to that board, you can suggest a learning for that user. Suddenly boards can become community projects, which enriches the experience of other visitors to that board.
- Let’s face it. Some sites just aren’t pin friendly. Either the images don’t come up to select, or the ones that do come up are rubbish (or ads for something unrelated). Learni.st lets you get around that by allowing you to directly link to an image URL or upload your own images. I’ve found it nice to use a grabbing or snipping tool to capture something from the page and save it to my computer, then upload the image to represent my learning. You may even be able to use Curate.us to create an image, although I haven’t tried that yet.
- As is becoming a standard, you can add an applet to your bookmarks bar, allowing you to ‘Learn It!’ whenever you’re browsing the web. I really dig that ability. Streamlining is key.
The team at Learni.st are obviously still working out some bugs, since it is in beta, but they have been amazingly quick to respond, and the turnaround and communication is unparalleled. This is a great set of people, with an awesome mission, and brilliant customer service. I’ll be using Learni.st for a while. I want to see this one launch.
Now go get your social on!
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