Saturday, November 8, 2008

Has the community the will and strength to survive?

Hey everyone- we’ve had a blast over the past two years dreaming up and building and we’re continuing our mission- no fear there. We have built one of the most innovative social platforms online and we are applying the technology into a variety of use cases and we are in conversations with many of the major media companies.

As far as the site is concerned, it’s been successful in so may different ways - but it hasn’t (so far, at least) grown to sufficient scale that we can consider supporting its cost by advertising, simple or exotic.

Just to be clear, we think about the various departments of the business of Soflow Inc., (owner of independently, the site is one of these and I want it to begin to stand on its own two feet. In essence, I want the community to become self-sustaining and I think that's healthy!!

We’ve started this process by asking you for a donation toward the cost of running the site. The good news here is that the costs are not that great... perhaps in the region of $18,000 per annum or $1,500 per month. I’m happy to hear your thoughts about how we (collectively) can raise that money- would you prefer a subscription site for example? If so, what do you think is a fair price?

Please note, that this is not about finding an investor- we’re not looking to raise cash for our business- this is about building a sustainable community. It’s really a question of the evolution of and determining whether or not the community has the will and strength to survive! As I say- I think that's healthy.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A broadcast from Team

It's been a while since Team last reached out on our blog, and it's high time we gave an update! In the past few months, has been rolling along nicely and continuing to grow (albeit slowly). The level of participation of the core community continues to amaze us and for many we recognize that has become a way of life.

We are proud of the product we have built and the community of core users- but unfortunately’s not quite big enough to survive on an independent basis. There are many ways can make money – but it requires a certain critical mass that, as yet, we have failed to reach.

Given sufficient time, we are confident we can get there- but in the meantime (the business) needs to derive revenue to make a contribution to the costs of building and maintaining the site and we are thinking about and planning a range of initiatives which we’ll be telling you more about in coming weeks and months.

In fact, the first of these kicks in today with the introduction of of a new experimental scene. "Broadcast You", a Television scene. Why Television? Well, some of the people most impressed with the discussions on are big media companies. Traditionally, big media works one-way-only: broadcast. They pump great content into the void, and we all talk about it around the water cooler, over dinner, and on discussion sites like These companies are very interested in seeing how communities like can close that loop, provide feedback, and improve the quality of entertainment, news, journalism, and opinion. (All the stuff we love talking about on!)

As focuses on driving revenue, we want your help. We want to prove to these big media companies that their model should include great commentary and question-powered discussions. We want to show them that news is more fun when it's being talked about. We're in close contact with a number of these organizations, and far from being evil corporate giants, they're actually quite intent on watching how social sites can play a role in their world. So show them! Start filling up the new Television scene with all sorts of content about current events, news, entertainment, media, and life. Stand Up + Air Your Views. Broadcast YOU.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My - Have It Your Way

Today we've introduced a whole new "my".  In many ways, this is the realization of what we intended my to be all along: a place for you to have a dashboard, a console view, customized with pointers to all the content you care about.  To borrow a classic fast-food slogan, now you can finally "Have it your way."

What does this mean in practice?  Well, you'll see two areas of the my feeds view, an "inbox", which will include personally-relevant info like questions from your friends, and replies to your comments.  You'll also see a "subscriptions" area, where you can control all sorts of other info you might want to keep tabs on.  In both of these areas, you can see just "new" stuff, that you haven't clicked on or answered.  Or you can see "all" items.  To keep you and our databases sane, this will give you a 7-day backlog of items from your feed.

So how do you use it?  Here are some examples...

  • Want to see a flood of every question being posted, anywhere on (we know this has been a popular request from a minority set of true power users)  Just subscribe to every Scene, and you'll see all new Bits consolidated in your my subscriptions tab.  Or be more discerning, and stick to the scenes you care about most.
  • Have a favorite Bit type?  Subscribe just to Polls, or just to "Would You Rather" questions, if you like!
  • Want to keep tabs on a favorite topic?  Maybe you are an expert in photography, and want to be sure you get ahold of all the content on with topic "photography".  Just subscribe to that topic, and it'll be delivered right into your feed.
Simple, eh?  There's a lot going on to make all this happen, but we think it'll be a far superior way to consume great content, and to keep tabs on all your discussions happening around the growing world.

As always, your thoughts are most welcome, email  Most of the changes you see today have come from trying hard to accommodate all the varied requests we get from you!

Keep wis.dming, and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Usability is a tough nut

Team is always listening to feedback from our members.  And the feedback comes in at all different levels.  Veteran users, new registrants, site visitors; internet power-users, and people using their first web-connected computers!

Providing the best usability for all these groups is a real challenge, and it's ongoing.  In efforts to strike the right balance, you probably saw some changes on today.

Start a Discussion - We've consolidated the location for posting your own content.  You can now ask questions using the "start a discussion" button permanently under your login information.  Easy, always available, and clear for all the new users who want to know how to get involved!

Comment System - a big overhaul to the comment system also went live today.  By implementing true threaded comment behavior, we've cut down on the noise factor from people quoting each-other's comments, and allowed you to better keep track of discussion within a post.

Formatted Content - finally, in the comment system as well as around in general, you'll see a new way to format rich content (bold, italics, links, etc.)  We've picked an industry standard for forums, BBCode, as our formatting language.  For some users who have been using HTML to format, this will be a change.  We went this direction for two reasons. 1) Basic formatting just works better.  A number of hacks necessary to cleanly format non-HTML content were removed, so users just looking to leave their simple thoughts will have more reliable results. 2) We want to protect our site and you all from malicious content that can be put in the page to reformat it, spam, or spread viruses.  The best way to do this (and the way that almost every other forum/comments system out there works) is to keep control over the types of formatting allowed.  We hope that it meets almost everyone's needs for self-expression, and that it helps keep an atmosphere of sanity to the great discussion threads!

Usability is a tough nut to crack.  So as always, send your thoughts to  What's better, what's worse, how would you solve these problems best for all the diverse members of the community?

Keep wis.dming!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Feeding the addiction

Two things will come as no surprise to those of you who love answering the huge breadth of Bits on, and who've been around for a while.

1. members have been clamoring since the beginning for a way to respond to Bits when they're on the go, at the airport, in a cab, or dare I say it...sitting in class.
2. Team goes to great lengths to listen and deliver on the crowd's desires.

With those two items in mind, today we introduced a simple mobile application.  Check it out on your mobile device at
Let us know your feedback.  If it's a hit, we're ready to take it to the next level!  For now, happy'ing on the go!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Worth Waiting For

Good things come to those who wait, or at least to loyal'ers.

The new will be here any day now! As a nod to those who have been carefully following our future questions and comments, waiting in anxious expectation of "what's next", here is a sneak peek.
Stay tuned . . . the next time you visit, it could be a whole new world where you can explore even more!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Get in on the Actions

Sometimes, what we do conveys more than what we say. Like the time when my dad gave my mom a vacuum cleaner for Valentine’s Day, and she broke into tears. Or when he (later) presented her with two airline tickets to Italy, and she danced around the room, elated.

Well, what would a scene be, without props and stage direction? The new Scenes will include fun props that let you set the stage to explore people and friendships further one-to-one.

When you’re spending time in a scene you will be able to select an action to show how you’re feeling. You can drink a beer at the bar, protest at a forum, or eavesdrop at a cafĂ©. These actions will be visible to the rest of the community, and there are some you can even provide to other members, like buying a drink.

Intrigued by someone in particular? You will be able to take action by sending a gift or asking for a personal chat. After all, actions speak louder than words.

This week’s winner of a fLip digital camcorder in the Win a Wii with contest is Michale. The grand prize winner of a Nintendo Wii is Corey_D. Congratulations to you both!