FlameUp Lets You Rant in Digg-Like Fashion

This morning, I received an email about a new site. I’m familiar with Digg, Mixx, and all the sites like them, so when I was asked to review FlameUp.com, I figured the least I could do is go look.

FlameUp.com

Getting started
I headed over and signed up last week. The signup was pretty simple, but even before signing up, I found what I feared – an incredibly negative atmosphere – but that means something is working. FlameUp is a Digg-like site, but instead of submitting entertaing, inspirational, or shocking articles, users submit rants about whatever gets them all heated up. If other users agree with that rant, they “flame up” the rant. If they disagree, “cooling down” the rant is the action taken. The dynamic of the site can be a little intimidating, which may explain the large number of users who are afraid to identify themselves by more than an anonymous moniker. Remembering that these rants are largely opinion, I chose to rant about something fairly mild. It’s a week later, and I’ve found my rant on the receiving end of four equally mild responses and one stupid one.

Longevity?
One thing I always ask myself before I invest any real time using a site is how long that site will be around. This one I’m not sure about, but I can tell you that I’ve only seen this tried once before and that site was horrible. FlameUp.com has, at the very least, put forth the time and effort and brought a site that not only looks good, but is (mostly) intuitive. That said…

A little feedback
One bug I noticed is that the Privacy Settings page doesn’t save my settings. That’s a Q/A oversight, I guess, but being unfamiliar with the site, I submitted my settings twice before I realized that it was the site that wasn’t saving them correctly.

One thing I didn’t like is that I the ability to browse categories was not obvious to me right away, as it should be. I think they should be prominently displayed, like they are on Digg. What if I just want to read rants about Politics. I really REALLY don’t, but you get my point.

I’ve bookmarked the site and I’ll check back again later, but I try to see the cup half full, so I probably won’t be a regular.

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Using Chi.mp to Manage Your Social Media Presence

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.Image via WikipediaWhile skimming through my friends’ tweets on Twitter last week, I noticed a mention of something called chi.mp. The first thing I noticed upon visiting the site is the need for a beta code to sign up. I hate having to wait after requesting a code, but I also know that it means they’re doing something right, and I have less fear of it being overloaded while I’m using it. I submitted my request for a beta code and forgot all about it, as I do often. Today, I got my beta code in the mail and jumped right in.

What is chi.mp?
chi.mp touts itself as “the dashboard for your digital life”. That’s great, but what does that really mean? Any service I sign up for online should do one of three things for me: promote my brand/name/site, make me money, or save me time. This one falls into the “save me time” category, but it also fits into a fourth category. It gives me more control over who sees what.

For example, Rob and Anthony are surfing buddies of mine and I want to share with them my activity on surfersgonewild.com. However, I only want to show them and not, say, my family or my boss. With chi.mp I can label Rob and Anthony with the tag ‘surfers’ and then label my activity from surfersgonewild.com with the same tag. When Rob or Anthony visit my domain they will be able to see all my surfing escapades, but no one else will. I get to share my surfing side with my buddies but keep my professional persona intact for work purposes.

The only downside is that I have to give out the domain, but I’ll talk about portability below.

Let’s talk about the control
Frankly, I don’t care as much about the OpenID end of things. It’s nice that it remembers all my passwords, but I’m more interested in the control of information. I have a tech blog, but I like to talk about marketing, too, and I have 2 companies and a radio station and friends and family. Many of these contacts fall into multiple groups. I live my life somewhat transparently, so I don’t feel much of a need to “hide” information from my contacts, although I like that I can share my phone number only with people I tag, say, “phone-allowed”. The control chi.mp promises for me is the ability to give contacts tags that I can then tie to permission to see certain things. I may only want to show my MySpace updates to people I tag “friend”, and my twitter to people I tag “twitter”, but I may want to tag a few friends as “friend” and also as “twitter” and “phone-allowed”, so they can see my tweets, my MySpace updates, and call me if they like.

Will I use it and how?
I have spent a lot of time and effort branding the domain JoeTech.com, so to imagine pointing everyone elsewhere to keep up on my online life seems a bit counter-productive to my branding efforts. However, I’m already thinking of ways I can integrate it with JoeTech.com in a way that maintains my brand. But it’s not all just about other people getting the full effect of my web presence all in one place. It also helps me keep it all together.

I really like Chi.mp. The support (so far) has been great, the site just seems to work, and it’s very smooth.

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