February 05, 2009

Are You Right For YouAre?

By Ken Stewart of ChangeForge (Twitter/FriendFeed)

YouAre LogoWith the promise of "making the small things you do every day easier," YouAre announced it was open to the public as of January 27, 2009. Starting in May 2007, YouAre.com sought to get it right before allowing the masses access to what some might call YATC (Yet Another Twitter Clone). But, the YouAre team disagrees (and with just a dash of wit I might add):

When they say that YouAre is just another YATC, our response is clear. Twitter was and still is an inspiration for us. But if YouAre is a Twitter clone, then WordPress and Movable Type are clones of Blogger, Pitas and LiveJournal.

Duncan Riley (Inquisitr) reluctantly labeled YouAre Twitter 2.0. But is it? According to YouAre, the service seeks to combine Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, a dash of Del.icio.us, and (you won't see this coming) innovation...

So what makes YouAre innovative? Let's take a look at what's under the hood.

The concept of YouAre focuses on combining a platform of microblogging (140 characters maximum), with the ability to share video and images as well. Additionally, you can build and share your personal and professional profiles with friends and colleagues, helping you to learn more about those to whom you subscribe and vice versa.YouAre allows you to compliment that mix with the ability to import favorites, much like Del.icio.us, includes their very own link compression publisher, MicURL, as well as support for microformats (XFN).

Unlike the natural comparison to Twitter, YouAre seeks to create a more cohesive and sticky experience, allowing you to create a more involved experience outside of the superficial and overly-simplistic personal billboard experience Twitter trends towards.

However, it's major detractor is the lack of overall population. YouAre opted to "get it right" and launch a more seasoned platform instead of seeing some of the major land mines Twitter has experienced.

Still, as will all social media platforms, the key is being social. Twitter is successful because it is simple to understand and direct in purpose - in spite of it's many shortcomings. The community that surrounds Twitter continues to generate more momentum for that service, and YouAre has the disadvantage of simply being viewed as YASMS (Yet Another Social Media Site). In short, YouAre has an uphill battle selling users why they should give the service a try.

I'm game... but only time will tell whether I will continue use and whether the service will be an ultimate success. Quite plainly put, YouAre depends greatly on whether you are interested, your friends are interested, and their friends are interested.

Ken Stewart’s blog, ChangeForge.com, focuses on the collision between the constantly changing worlds of business and technology. To connect with Ken, you may visit him at DandyID.