Posts Soft Launch – Community Driven News Portals

As a member of the Seattle Tech Startups mailing list, I received the word from Ian on the list that he was ready for us to give it a try. I’ve created a page to track Mobile Social Network news, and spent 20 minutes getting it started. To get an idea of how this works, watch the quick demo video on their homepage.

Thoughts & Suggestions

  1. Without RSS this page I have just created will not remain current for more than an hour – at best. I wish I could provide a feed URL (such as a Google search of blogs for the term “mobile social network”) to feed into the page in order to keep it current.
  2. Once I have added component to the page, it appears impossible to delete it.  Update: I figured out how to do this, there is a button called “Archive” after you double-click on something.  Took me trial-and-error to figure out what this meant.
  3. If I go back and then forward again, all the changes I’ve made are lost. That’s painful (I just did this on accident).  They have a note at the bottom of the page which I didn’t even notice – maybe that should be front and center.  Better yet, don’t flush the data so soon – you probably want to hang onto aborted sessions of contribution anyway for metrics purposes.
  4. When I add a news story link, such as the link from TechCrunch, it seems like it would be nice to have a little Ajax lookup of the URL that grabs the meta data (author name, title, date posted, blog name) so that I wouldn’t have to enter all that as text.  Structured data is gold.
  5. I’m primarily a keyboard user (avoid the mouse whenever possible) and the tab order did not include the “Save” buttons, so I had to use my mouse frequently.
  6. I’m not clear on how I can get my friends to subscribe to this page, so that they will hear about updates when I add to the page.
  7. I was unable to add more than one link to the 3rd (far right) resources box – seems like a bug.

Fundamentally, I am unclear on how this is better than a feedreader + forum combination for managing a community that is interested in a specific topic.  That being said, I know this is a soft launch so I can only imagine there is a more feature-rich version of the service in the works.  I can see promise in this, as a feedreader-style landing page that is public.