We’ve seen them all come and we’ve seen them all go.
There were different gimmicks, different features, different ways of trying to reel in the public and get as many people as possible to sign up for an account.
We’ve watched their birth, their tentative climb towards success, the eventual plateau in popularity, and finally the natural death that comes to claim everything in this world.
No, I’m not waxing poetic here.
I’m just talking about social networking sites—how they are born, how they shine, and how they die like the stars.
Ants die a lot too.
I’m sure that at one point or another you too were a sucker for almost every social networking site out there.
I don’t blame you.
Logging onto the Internet and getting involved in social networking sites was way more fun than having to work on your client presentation or washing dirty diapers or changing bed sheets, right?
And the more people use these sites, the more features that were introduced to keep them busy and coming back for more. It’s was like social crack… one taste just wasn’t enough!
Depending on where you live on the globe, some of the hottest social networks then included MySpace, Friendster, Multiply, Flickr and a slew of others. However, slowly but surely, these sites gave way to the new kings of hill: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and all the rest.
I’m sure you can think of a lot of pros to maintaining accounts with multiple social networking sites (sometimes, you even sign up for more than one account with each! OK fine, maybe that’s just me…) but there are also some very major downsides to it.
For me, the most irritating thing of all was having to keep people I don’t know from inviting me and offering me all sorts of things like discount coupons, free movie passes and customized Bibles.
SPAM FRACKEN CITY
I know, I hear ya.
I’m an online entrepreneur and an avid blogger at that, so I should know that people have the tendency to be overzealous about using their social media connections to the point that they become annoying. It’s likely one could accuse me of doing that at some point or another, so no glass houses around here.
And trust me I tend to have more patience than the average Joe when it comes to fending off people online. But of course, I do want to maintain some semblance of privacy over my life and my online activities, at least some of the time.
That’s why finding a social network that includes only the people I know personally is such a difficult task.
However, my friend Ken MckArthur has created this one website that promises you the ultimate social media experience and connections minus the hassle of having to sort through junk invitations and useless spam.
It’s called Tobri, and since I’m a really curious girl, and Ken’s a good guy… I decided to give it a try by signing up for a freebie account.
There’s nothing much you will see when you get to the homepage, and despite my knowledge of Ken and his products, I wasn’t very convinced with their promises of creating a real network of real people. Or all that jazz about needing just one social network because you have one life anyway.
Honestly I’ve heard all that before, and here I am still juggling at least three social media accounts! lol
As I was signing up, I had to choose between being a beta member and a non-profit organization, so I went for the former. But if you’re a businessperson looking for extra leverage through social media, you can sign up for a Tobri Business Premier membership and gain access to advertising capabilities.
The price can be a little prohibitive if you don’t know how to make the most out of your Tobri account: the business premier beta membership is pegged at $1,797 for one year, and that’s just the promo price.
Social Media is Supposed to be Free
But I guess this is one of the few exceptions to the rule.
The layout looks bloggy to me, like the WordPress dashboard, so it takes a little getting used to. Judging from the dropdown tabs on the site, it sure looks as if there’s so much more you can do in Tobri than in other social networking sites… a bit a la Facebook.
There are also points and rankings off to one side of your homepage, but I don’t yet understand how they all fit into the Tobri world.
Apart from promising you to build and maintain network of real people who matter to you, Tobri also offers a couple of cool features that you’d find in a standard-issue social networking site. It comes with blogs, games, an event scheduler, polls and other applications to amuse yourself with.
In general, Tobri is designed to be a business tool for entrepreneurs who want to get in on the social media bandwagon and reap the benefits of a strong online presence and brand identity.
Tobri is built on the idea that yes, social networks are useful, but if they’re saturated in such a way that you no longer know how to organize your contacts and groups, you might as well have no social network at all. Quantity is a good thing, but quality is another bag of chips altogether, and way more important.
So instead of helping you create a network of thousands of people, Tobri is designed to connect you to people with whom you actually share a meaningful relationship, be it business or personal.
Assess Tobri for Yourself
According to the video demo that you get to watch on the home page, it has “all the features that you’d expect, just without all the noise.” The video wasn’t so hot because it tends to get pixellated at some points and the color quality is so-so, but I have to say that the movable connection webs for finding and organizing your contacts got me all a-quiver.
Side note: You need Java 1.6 or higher to work the applet, but it’s so much fun anyway!
So that’s the main difference you get with Tobri from what I see—it’s a graphical and visual connection ranking engine that allows you to fix your contacts by using the Tobri connection graph. I’d have to say that’s a new idea to me—instead of typing people’s names under particular groups like I do in Facebook, I just have to turn up their pictures and work on making the connections visually.
So, just like every other social networking site launched in the past, Tobri has a long way to go before it can establish itself as a force to reckon with.
Will it be a contender against Twitter or Facebook? No idea.
We’ll just have to see how it does in the near future and whether or not people fall in love with its innovative graphical networks. In the mean time, I’m game to explore it some more so if you want to join me you can sign up for your own free Tobri account.
If you do be sure to friend me, and mention this blog post, I’ll get a kick out of that! We can create a BGB’ers group or something. And if you fall in love with Tobri or totally hate it, or just prefer to stick with what you know, please drop your point of view in the comments below… we’d all love to hear them.
PS… Yes all links to Tobri are aff links. While it’s free to join, if one of you crazy entrepreneurs decide to sign up for that Biz or Non-Profit option, I’ll get a kick back for it. Of course, don’t just do it for me. 😉 After all, I really can’t attest to how it’ll pan out for ya!