Pownce: micro-blogging made easy
Wednesday, 5 September 2007 — by Wayne Smallman
I like Pownce. I did like Twitter, but I don’t anymore. For me, Pownce is micro-blogging personified. While being simple to use, it’s deceptively powerful stuff. However, much like any other Social Network, it’s not the features that maketh Pownce, it’s the people…
Recently, I’ve been banging a big drum about a new illness called Social Network Fatigue. There’s a lot of it about, and it’s catching.
Every time you sign up to a new Social Network, your symptoms get worse; a general feeling of tiredness from filling out yet one more profile page.
So maybe the timing wasn’t ideal for Pownce, since this new illness was already rife and there was something of a shared sigh when Pownce hit the Social Network scene.
I’m of the understanding that Pownce trails Twitter in terms of the number of people using it. But it does depend on what you want to achieve and the type of people you want to be amongst, which we’ll touch upon later in this article.
What is Pownce?
Put simply, Pownce is a small or micro ‘blog that you share with people you add as your friends.
You get to post stuff like links, events, files (such as images, movies, music et cetera) and people can reply to those posts. They can even score your post, giving it a zero to five star rating.
As of earlier this week, the guys behind Pownce – those being some of the guys who’re behind Digg – released a new, updated version of Pownce, one that includes some very nice features:
- Upcoming event notifications » now see the next five upcoming events you’ve been sent. It’s a handy way to make sure you don’t miss something.
- In-line video playback & in-line image previews » we’re now automagically embedding YouTube, Google, Metacafe, Revver, Vimeo, and other videos into your notes.
- Display your Social Networks & links » now, you can display them on your profile, so people can find you elsewhere too.
- New preferences settings » you can now open links in a new window by default! You can also set your default note view to something other than ‘notes & replies’.
The in-line images comes courtesy of Zooomr, who I’d not heard of until they were announced with the Pownce updates. So I suspect something suitably symbiotic at work here.
What can you do with Pownce?
- It’s free to sign up to Pownce. There’s a Pro version, which does away with the adverts (which are hardly obtrusive, but some are 403‘ing when clicked) and allows you to send files up to 100 megabytes in size. However, the regular version is limited to files up to 20 megabytes in size
- In much the same way I predicted a future social utility to Twitter, Pownce leapt into action and filled that particular gap with the option to post events. So if you’re somewhat of a social butterfly, or maybe you’re a conference hopper, a festival fiend or a mobile worker, here’s your chance to help people keep you inside their radar.
- When posting something, you can either post it publicly, post it just to your friends or specific friends. You can also create groups for your friends, so you can post to just those groups, too. Also, when you reply to a post by someone else, their friends get to see your comments. In that sense, you’re probably exposing your opinions to a much wider audience.
- You don’t have to add someone as a friend to comment on one of their posts. But if you want, you can add anyone as a friend. When you do this, you become a fan of theirs. They don’t have to reciprocate, but often they do. Once someone is a friend of yours, you see their posts in your profile page. Additionally, you can receive updates of their posts via email.
- I like to post links to stuff I’ve bookmarked, written or commented on. So here’s a chance to get a dialogue going with the people you’ve added as friends. This is a good way to build up a presence and some momentum for your ‘blogging. It’s also a good way to reach out to your friends and keep them informed.
- Because it’s pretty much instant, Pownce is a good way of asking questions, previewing something you’re working on, or maybe to get some feedback on something you’ve seen, heard or read about. Pownce is a good adjunct to email, if used properly.
- Some people post links to music and movie clips. But now you can do that within the page itself, which will make for an even better experience, letting you share more easily the stuff you’re interested in.
- You can subscribe to your feed and add it to your Lifestream or Workstream. Using something like Yahoo! Pipes, you can build your very own feed, made up of many other feeds.
- The recent update to Pownce lets you add links to your other Social Network and Social Media profiles, such as del.icio.us, Digg, Last.fm, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, YouTube, Flickr, Technorati and of course Twitter. This means your Pownce profile is more than just a micro-blog. It’s a functional a very realistic venue to use as a platform for some serious Social Networking and Social Media promotion.
- It’s not all good. Because we have very little control over what appears on our main profile page, it’s better to make references to the other web pages that we do have control over, such as our links page and our sent page, although it’s possible that there’s been an unpleasant reply or two. But that’s down to your selection of friends.
Who would you expect to see on Pownce?
In general, the people on Pownce are more of a tech’ crowd. However, this isn’t a bad thing. Certainly not for the likes of me, anyhow.
My experience is that by & large, they’re a good crowd and happy to engage in a pretty wide and eclectic range of topics, not just technology-related.
There’s some young guys & gals on Pownce, but in the main, the general age group seems to be mid twenties upwards.
5 ways to improve Pownce
- I’d like to be able to ‘claim’ my Pownce profile on Technorati.
- I’d like a Pownce client for the Mac.
- I’d like to be able to reply to posts with the same tools I have when I’m starting a thread, i.e.: with links, events, files et cetera.
- I want my own feed, not just my public feed. Since I can’t control what others are saying, I can’t really make too much use of my feed.
- A fully-featured API (Application Programming Interface). There’s other things an API would allow for, such as more interaction via other web services.
Like most things in life, you only get out of something what you put in. And in this regard, Pownce is no exception.
For me, it’s about making contact with like-minded people and to push my ‘blog, generating interest in what I’m writing about.
What you choose to get out of Pownce is up to you. But of all the Social Networks I’ve tripped on and fallen for, Pownce and StumbleUpon are the best…
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