Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Update and full review on So.cl - I'm in and using it now

Yesterday I wrote about So.cl, Microsoft's new social network that they launched with very little fanfare. I was unable to login or create an account because it put me on a waiting list. I received my email invite this morning and am now on it and using it.

Something interesting happened yesterday though that annoyed me. I went to share my blog article about So.cl onto Facebook. I've done this a million times with articles and it always posts the link to my site. When I shared this article, So.cl took over and posted a direct link to their site. This has never happened before and I was not happy about it. So far, a big negative against So.cl. The other thing I don't like is that it automatically is using my Facebook profile picture here.

As you login using a Facebook or Windows Live account, you are given the following message:

So.cl is an experiment in open search. That means your searches on So.cl are viewable by other So.cl users and will also be available to third parties.
So.cl does not automatically post your searches, comments, or likes to your Facebook stream unless you choose this option. Also, we don’t contact your Facebook friends unless you invite them.

In other words, if you are on So.cl and doing an internet search, be careful what you search for as all other So.cl users will see it, along with "third parties" whomever that is.

Once you sign in, So.cl suggests some things to you. First, it shows you some topics you can follow that you are interested in, like music, travel, food, etc., then shows some of the popular people on So.cl to follow (none loaded on my screen), and then asks you to invite your Facebook friends to join So.cl.

I skipped this part and went right to the main page. Here you can explore topics, look at your feed (everyone, following, conversations, your own posts), post something, join a video party and check your profile. According to the main page, I have 10 invitations to use for people to join. If you are interested in one, let me know in the comments below.

The layout is nice and uncluttered, which is the biggest thing I hate about Facebook - the page is cluttered with "noise". Most of the posts were actually just "so and so searched for" or "so and so joined this video party". There weren't a lot of comment posts or "this is what I'm doing" posts.

The next thing I tried out was the "Explore" feature. I clicked on "Science" and it takes you to feed page that lists posts and searches about science. It also gives you a suggestion for the most popular ones and allows you to "follow" this topic. It was interesting and a different way to find some new resources and information. According to the site, there are 5569 users following "Science".

It seems the difference between So.cl and other social networks is that it is all about sharing internet searches and exploring topics of interest. It's interesting and worth a look, but I'm not sure how it will do competing against well established networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. In addition, there are tons of educational systems, like Edmodo and others that allow teachers and students to set up private networks.

It's new and has some interesting features to check out.

If you are interested in another social network, check out So.cl here: http://www.so.cl

Social Media in Education - connect, share, learn, communicate and more

Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook - a nice comparison


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