As a Social Network, MyBlogLog has never realized the promise I felt it had the potential to achieve. The change of management really hasn’t improved matters and the competition are much sharper outfits. So just what’s the point of MyBlogLog?
Like any Social Network, MyBlogLog is about connecting people from around the world based on similar / same interests. The raison d’être of MyBlogLog is to enable ‘bloggers to create communities around their own ‘blogs.
The idea is foolishly — and in some respects deceptively — simple, but they’ve squandered their opportunity to lead the Social Media field.
A phrase I tend to use a lot is “iterative rather than innovative”, and that phrase is most apt with regards to MyBlogLog. While other Social Networks have grown and solidified, MyBlogLog has stagnated.
You could argue that a Social Network is only as good as its members. And to an extent, that’s true. But if you equip people with tools so tempting that spamming other members is but a few clicks away, you’re inviting problems.
MyBlogLog as “DNS for people”?
In a recent ‘blog article, their lad Ian made the claim that MyBlogLog is “DNS for people”, which is an exceptionally bold claim for such an exceptionally under-performing Social Network:
“This gets back to something I’ve written about before, a vision that MyBlogLog can serve as a Domain Name Service (DNS) for people.”
[The data we share] would be subject to a number of rules, or policies, which we would dictate through our personal profiles — that the data acquired by any web application:
- be subject to an optional expiry date, or a period within which the data we share is valid;
- that we control what aspects of our data are stored for how long;
- which parts of our data are shared and for how long;
- with whom we share our data, or allow our data to be stored with.
As a Social Network, MyBlogLog offers nothing like any of these features, nor does it show any signs of edging in such a direction, either.
All that MyBlogLog really offers is a list of the other Social Networks, Social Media portals and IM (Instant Messaging) services we’re signed up to. In almost every respect, the conversation is being directed away from MyBlogLog, rather than into.
Additionally, there would need to be support for a more fine-grained approach to how we classify the people we meet on-line:
“Imagine that your contacts are scattered across an array of Social Networks; chat clients, address books and mobile devices. The first thing we could do is consolidate these contacts and simply add up those contacts and then score those that appear most often more highly. Straight away, those that appear most often across those devices and services are given extra weighting.
The end product is an intricate, interlinked mesh of contacts, sorted by type — consisting of friends, family, colleagues, clients, suppliers et cetera. Providing you with a truly valuable source of knowledge relating to all of your contacts.”
Of all the Social Networks, MyBlogLog actually has the strongest tools in this regard, even if they fall some way short of what I believe is the bare minimum.
What’s wrong with MyBlogLog?
MyBlogLog purports to be a Social Network, but the tools are so poor and weak, it’s almost impossible to establish a dialogue with anyone, and in most cases the first thing people ask of each other is what IM service they can be contacted on.
And since the first function of any Social Network is to enable conversations, you can see the problems MyBlogLog has.
I joined MyBlogLog a little over a year ago and in that time there’s been very little positive change. In my experiences, their support staff are at best unresponsive and erratic. And I’m not alone, either.
Their messaging features are crude, there are no contact management tools to speak of and their community management tools are very simplistic.
While the spamming problems seem to have died down recently, it was a problem they struggled with. First of all, there was the co-author spamming, which made zero sense whatsoever, and then there was the community messaging spam, which is still happening to some extent.
I ran the MyBlogLog widget on this ‘blog for a while, but when I saw a huge pair of tits as an avatar for one of the member visitors, I deleted it immediately.
Even the web traffic statistics are weak, bettered by the likes of Clicky, Mint or even FeedBurner for that matter. I’m a paid MyBlogLog member, but I’m letting my membership expire, since I simply cannot justify the fee.
The future of MyBlogLog
Here’s a bunch of things that MyBlogLog needs to do to improve an otherwise impoverished service:
- First of all, they need to dump the incredibly restrictive interface and get the guys in from their stable mate Flickr to work on a total re-design.
- Speaking of Flickr, the integration of which is appallingly “me too!” so some actual effort needs to be made there.
- A proper email and messaging client.
- Some method or grouping, removing, editing and re-classifying our list of contacts.
- The new “About Me” widget is a step in the right direction. Why isn’t our profile page like that?
- Better web traffic statistics.
- Some kind of stewardship from Yahoo! rather than the hands-off approach of present.
- More widget customization options.
With the amount of competition MyBlogLog has in the area of Social Networking, at least matching or ideally bettering those guys should be the number one priority for MyBlogLog.
The irrelevance of MyBlogLog grows with every passing month, and if WordPress does decide to be a Social Network in their own right, MyBlogLog will be nothing more than a footnote on the Wayback Machine…