They are all the rage right now. Everybody uses them. They are being blogged about every day. Hell, people feature them in their sidebar! I am of course referring to those incomprehensible “update” services. Twitter and Pownce are the major players in this market; the two real powers. One the established giant (if such a thing exists) and the other, the new up and coming underdog (Rocky anyone?). But what are they battling over?… Your thoughts.
The Psychology Behind The Service
What is it about sharing your thoughts that ultimately makes this a viable idea? I mean, honestly, I don’t personally find these things appealing; but I think I can see where some people would. It plays into our inner most desires to be seen and heard. We want to broadcast our thoughts because somehow we think that we are important; that we matter. Whether we do or not is a question for open debate, but with Twitter and Pownce, you can feel as important as you think you are.
Now, I kind of think that these types of services are redundant; I thought that there were already features in other services that filled these needs. Think of MySpace and its headlines or Facebook with its status updates. Doesn’t that cut the mustard? I mean, even though Pownce has more features than just thought sharing, it definitely doesn’t have anything that social networking sites don’t already have… But hey, who am I to question the usefulness of two of the web’s most popular services?…
Are You A Twit?
Let’s take a look at Twitter’s design, shall we? Well, my initial first impression was, “Wow, it looks like some of those Web 2.0 generators threw up in here.” You’ve got your vibrant blues and greens, with a lackluster menu and a bubbly logo. What more do you need, right?
Well, beneath its quintessential web 2.0 exterior beats the heart of a simple, direct, useful service (if, of course, you find the idea behind it useful). It is as if a minimalist and a utilitarian got together and worked on this website. It needs no instructions. Everything is obvious and to the point. It has only the one feature and the design does nothing to get in its way.
Sure, it doesn’t suit my taste, but I cannot fault it for not hiding away features and not complicating its menu. And if anything, the logo was a bit ahead of its time. It nailed the principles behind whatever web 2.0 is; it is looked upon as a standard now, and must be given credit for that.
Do You Prefer To Pownce?
For me, Pownce is a fantastically designed site. One for the CSS galleries of this world. There isn’t much I don’t like about this look; the logo, the color scheme, the layout. It all works in my book. In fact, I would say that the focus of the site is the design; which is quite the problem in and of itself.
You log in and see a welcoming, warm environment. And if it isn’t warm enough for you, Pownce offers 4 different themes for your profile; all of which are well designed. But we should also look past the design. And that is now small task. The basic functionality is easy enough to use though, and while some features are a little bit more cryptic, there is nothing too difficult to find or use.
Speaking of those features, there is a laundry list of them. Pownce does much more than just share your thoughts. You can post images, files, links, build a comprehensive profile, and we haven’t even gotten to the desktop companion yet. But is that too much? Do you really need all of that in this sort of service? I, for one, do not think so.
Who Will Come Out On Top
The idea behind both of these services is very simple; share your thoughts. And Twitter gives you what you need and nothing more. Share your thoughts with your friends and be done with it. On the other hand, Pownce does this and much more. With all of its features, I feel like its reaching too far. Don’t get me wrong; I was pumped to get my beta invite and try out this much hyped service. But in the end, Pownce comes off more like a half assed social networking site than anything else. These services should be competing on the basis of what they are supposed to be; they should not try to mimic what they are not. For now, Twitter is king (Alexa rank of 636) and I see it staying that way. Pownce (Alexa rank of 3780) may seem like a challenger, but the novelty of its myriad of features runs out fairly quickly.
Originally posted on October 22, 2007 @ 12:50 am