Pearls before Twine

update:  I think I was in a bad mood on this – not fair to be so hard on a new company without even trying it.   Sorry Twine, I hope you … ROCK! 

Twine is the new social network applications just “launched” at the Web 2.0 summit in Silicon Valley.   Like Paul Kedrowsky   I’m skeptical before I’ve even had a chance to test Twine.   (I will test it and review as soon as I get an invite…).

No, this is not fair but I’m getting sick of applications priming the buzz machine with hyperbole before they have even put out the application to enough people that you can figure out if it’s “Web 3.0” as Twine claims it is, or just another overhyped social application that needs widespread adoption to be useful.   

My favorite 2.0 observer, Tim O’Reilly, has a detailed review of the Twine demo after which he wonders if they’ve succeeded.    Note to Twine – if you can’t convince people in a demo that you are great you probably have some work to do, and you might even suck.

Now I really feel like an Assclown 2.0 to be so critical of what is clearly a thoughtful and potentially great application from Nova Spivak, a very clever Web 2.0 fellow. 

But I think I’m suffering from Web 2.0 stress syndrome where the hype, lies, and video clips are overwhelming me with irrelevant stuff while I try desparately to winnow out the good stuff from the bad.   We need an automated routine (aka ‘search agent’) that  does the preliminary winnowing of content and organization of other stuff and my stuff for us.  Now THAT would be web 3.0 and THAT would be worth my time as well as the time of all the moms, pops, and kids out there who are the backbone of the new web.   Silicon Valley often spills out silly companies and ideas as if the other 99.9% of the global population is clueless or irrelevant.   Theoretically Web 2.0 was to change that and make people, not computers, the center of the internet universe.   But sometimes I wonder if the Silicon folks have even paid any attention to that change.  

Yahoo Mash – Yahoo!, don’t forget about Yahoo! Mash

Yahoo’s social networking tool “Yahoo Mash” offered up a good first entry into the social networking space by a major player.    But I’m noticing how it seems to be languishing after the initial positive buzz, and I think this is because Yahoo’s taking too long to go out with full bore, full online network promotion.  

Yahoo Mash offers some features I really like compared to Myspace and Facebook.  It’s an open architecture meaning that you can mashup mash with modules that show pictures or RSS feeds like this blog.   I think my favorite thing about Yahoo Mash is the way the comments stream from profile to profile, so you don’t have to keep bouncing back to a single spot to remember what you said to somebody.    I’m not enough of a social networking person to know if this is a real innovation or not because Myspace and Facebook also have some features that cross pollinate across profiles, but somehow Mash feels more like a “social networking” experience to me, even though I with it had the kinds of business networking features you find at LinkedIn.  

If Yahoo Mash is just working out kinks and getting ready to scale up to full release soon that is fine, but if the idea is to scale the project *slowly* over a year or so I think they are making a big mistake.  Why?   Because social networking is an explosive phenomenon both in the sense that it has quickly become a key online activity across all users but also because it seems to me that social networks don’t gain momentum gradually, rather they become “in fashion” as did Myspace and Facebook and grow quickly and explosively.   Facebook is still in this growth mode while I think Myspace growth is tapering off (I’m too lazy to go look at graphs to see if this is true).  

Disclaimer – I’ve got some Yahoo stock.  Not enough to prejudice my views, but perhaps enough to make me unreasonably optimistic.