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This is a long-overdue post about SocialBrowse. My way of describing SB is that it’s a cross between Twitter and Since that’s probably only understandable to me, look at the screeshot below, and I’ll explain.

The sidebar on the left is SocialBrowse’s domain. I follow some people on SocialBrowse, and some people follow me. If you’re not familiar with that concept, it simply means that I’ve decided that there are a bunch of people who like to share things that I like to read. And some fools (just joking) think I share good stories, so they watch what I share.

Everytime somebody in this chain shares an article, it pops up in the SB sidebar. I check out the headline and decide whether or not it’s something I want to see. And to filter things a little further, SB allows me to set up categories I want to see – so I don’t have to see sports shares.

Recently, the SB developers, Zack Garbow and Dave Fowler, have added some really neat discussion capabilities. When I see a share where I think I have something brilliant to say – an analysis, an affirmation, a criticism or a witticism – I can add that to the share. Some of these comments have started pretty lively debates, since anybody else who sees my shares or the shares of somebody who comments on the article, can leave their own comments.

Inevitably, some of these comments have been political, and I have to remind myself that whatever you write on the Internet stays there forever. But in general, most people, including me, are pretty open in these comments.

SB allows you to send the shares and comments to your Twitter account if you choose. I don’t, but then I just don’t get Twitter. (I’m trying, really, I’m just not there yet.) Or you can email a link to the article to anybody from SB. I’ve started to use that a lot.

What exactly does this do for me or you?

I’m following some really smart people. Some of them spend a LOT of time reading articles and blogs on the Internet. I get to see the things they found valuable enough to share. If they read 10 articles and share one, I’ve just cut out a lot of reading – provided I trust their judgment.

In fact, I’ve found a lot this way. Sites I never would have found on my own and news stories I might have missed. Robert Scoble writes about how he broke the news of the recent Chinese earthquake after getting Twittered about it. SB can do the same thing – if I’m deeply immersed in something else, and I leave the SB sidebar open, I’ll quickly see any breaking news or technology stories as they come out.

SB has another important advantage – the founders like to talk to their users. I’ve had many conversations with Zach Garbow over the past few weeks. He’s anxious to get feedback from users, and he and Dave listen and implement fast.

Getting social even if you’re not social

SB is very different. I’m glad to share stuff I’m reading. I spend hours every day reading so I can stay current. I tried sharing some of my great finds with people in FriendFeed, but nobody showed up. With SB, I did the same, and some people started watching. So I’m providing value to some SB subscribers, and deriving value from others. That feels good.

I typically find people to share because they’ve started following me. When that happens, I get an email from SB, and I naturally check out the kind of sites or articles they tend to share. If I like their shares, I follow them. As more people follow me, I look at more people, and very selectively add to the people I follow.

That was an entirely natural, non-threatening process, because the first followers everyone gets are Zack and Dave – who spend entirely too much time sharing good stuff with their subscribers <g>. I got started by checking out who was following them, and selecting a few people to follow.

For me, SB works, where FriendFeed and Twitter didn’t.

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. Wally’s Follies » Blog Archive » SocialBrowse can be an active part of your personal branding linked to this post on December 5, 2008

    […] written about SocialBrowse before (here). It’s a great site that lets people share things they’re reading on the Internet. By […]