Socl, pronounced “social”, Microsoft’s new social network, which is still in beta, has just been opened to the public after being tried out by Microsoft employees and college students. It looks more like Pinterest than Facebook, says Mashable.
There is a difference, though. You see individual pictures on Pinterest while Socl is heavy on collages.You can add text to your posts, but you will be tempted to insert pictures – and lots of them – and videos, too, in your posts. The post editor will automatically assemble them into collages as you drag and drop the pictures, videos and texts into your posts.
It’s simple as that. All you have to do is sign in using your Facebook or Microsoft account. Then, if you want to create a post, you have to type into the box which says, “Type a topic to create a post.”
That’s why I was reminded of Scoop.it. On Scoop.it, too, you create and publish “topics”. The “topics” became ongoing blogs as you add content, but that’s what they are called: “topics”. And publishing on Scoop.it is really simple.
Scoop.it has a bookmarklet or web clipper with which you can clip interesting content from the web, just as you can, using Evernote. What makes Scoop.it different is that it turns the content into beautiful online posts. “Easily curate engaging magazines,” it says. When you use the bookmarklet to post any content from the web, it will automatically insert a snippet from the text and any accompanying picture into the post. It will also automatically link to the original article. Of course, you can write your own posts and publish your own pictures, but I have seen it mostly used for curation.
Here’s a beautiful example of what you can do with Scoop.it: Singapore Memories and History.
Another – let’s say newsier – aggregator I like is Storify, where you can put together all the news, tweets, Facebook updates and videos on a particular topic in one “story”. Here I used Storify to assemble some of the reports and comments on Socl.
Socl is still in beta, so it’s too early to pass judgment on it. But it seems rather limited. When I tried to create a topic, I had to type it into the search box – and the search is powered by Bing. I couldn’t post whatever I liked, only what I got through Bing. I wanted to create a post on the Beatles, but the only YouTube videos I could use were the ones found by Bing. When I tried to add videos directly from YouTube by using their URLs, it didn’t work.
You can embed URLs on Storify. And you don’t have to search Bing to find things to publish on Scoop.it.
Socl looks beautiful, but it’s just eye candy at the moment. I read it was meant to be an educational tool. What happened?