Social media spotlight: Socl – league of its own or leave it alone?
Microsoft has finally opened its social network Socl to the general public, and has critics scratching their heads as they try to figure out exactly what the site is trying to be.
The site – pronounced ‘social’, FYI – allows people to connect to others with similar interests, search, share and compile content, like it and even comment on it, much like Facebook. Like Pinterest, its aesthetic hinges on a collage-like appearance of two or three columns, and like Tumblr – or even Reddit – users can sift through endless pages of content without being signed in.
The onus, it seems, is not on connections or friendships, though, rather on shared appreciation of content, so while Socl certainly has an element of interaction, it’s not competing with Facebook. Indeed, in the ‘About’ section the company says that it’s not meant to compete with social networks but is instead an “experimental research project with a minimal set of features”. And by running the platform on the comparatively feeble search power of Bing, this statement rings true.
So, a contender for Pinterest’s crown, then? Again, not really. Yep, it has all the bells and whistles of a scrap-booking site done well, but lacks the visual opulence of Pinterest – which is all about immaculate photographs, beautiful artwork and aspirational living. Socl’s offering, however, is more timely, relevant, amusing and engaging. Think memes, online comics and politics, plus, as well as video, its search function links to blogs and articles, meaning the user get a content experience beyond pretty pictures.
Socl incorporates aspects of both Facebook and Pinterest, but it’s not trying to emulate either, nor will it replace either in the social media lexicon. It may well bring something new to the table, though – an easier, more streamlined way for internet-lovers to share and collate their favourite content, providing hours and hours of time-wasting and procrastination. And isn’t that what successful social networks are all about?