I went on a Social Media binge the other day, as I wanted to see what else was out there other than the usual suspects (FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace).

(My opinions on these are well documented.)

I thought I would share my opinions on the others, starting with the Micro-Blogging sites.

Before I do this, I must start by extolling the virtues of an awesome website called Ping.fm.  This handy little tool allows you to post status micro-blogs, tweets, pulses, status updates (or whatever else social media sites want to call those little 140 character messages) on all your social media profiles in one shot.

The Caveat: In order for social media sites to be successful, they must attract a critical mass, or at least a particular niche.  All of the sites I mention below are essentially providing the same service as Twitter, but typically with their own unique twist.  Still they cannot possibly be successful unless they are more widely embraced.  So, while it was fun to experiment with them all, the success of any of them is entirely academic.

Identi.ca – This is almost exactly the same as Twitter.  What’s cool about it is that it is based on Open Source software (laconi.ca) and uses OpenID.  A couple of unique features: it turns hashes into tags and stores them in a tag cloud for you, and it provides raw RSS without the password issues of Twitter.  I think this one takes second place to Twitter, but only because it has fully embraced open standards (think Google vs. Microsoft).

YouAre – This site is everything Twitter should be.  You can send text, video or images through the website.  It has proper profiles, including links to other sites.  You can follow and favourite.  You can also import all your past Twitter tweets, if you want to.  I hope it catches on, it is pretty nifty.

Jaiku – This is Google’s answer to Twitter.  It is nicely designed.  It uses traditional contacts instead of followers and following.  It also has a Channels feature, which is a pretty good idea.  I can’t get too excited about it, though.  I figure Google will eventually buy twitter, then probably eventually ditch this – something like Google Videos and YouTube.

Utterli – These guys are really pushing the anywhere aspect of micro-blogging, allowing you to add a pin to your SMS posts.  They have mini-profiles (with custom fields), and groups, too.  They also allow text, audio, images and video posts.  They have a badge (widget) that will read your last post (and sound exactly like Stephen Hawking):


koornk – Instead of using a hash tag, you can set a topic separately that can be searched for.  The website also sorts recent, replies, mentions, everyone (what Twitter shows), and topics.  It incorporates all the cool features of TweetDeck directly on the website.

12seconds.tv – Record 12 seconds of audio directly on their website, and send that out as your video micro-blog – is that a micro-vlog?  Is this the killer application of the future?  Who knows.

Plurk – Almost exactly the same as Twitter, except with a funky timeline and, HOORAY, emoticons!  Gasp.

If you are thinking of starting your own micro-blogging site, I recommend you come up with a crazy name that means nothing, as most of these have.