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Tech Review: Time to learn another social networking site

David Larter June 2, 2009 0

twineEditor’s Note: BizSense has revived the weekly tech review, which will start running every Tuesday throughout the summer.

Add one more to the list of social networking sites you’re supposed to know: Twine is the newborn in the seemingly endless lineage of social networking sites.

You know how co-workers or friends e-mail you articles or videos they think you might enjoy?  Twine acts as an aggregator, allowing users to post those links directly to their Twine. Then they can match up with other Twiners who share the same interests. There could be a lot of potential there down the road if enough people jump on the bandwagon.

That’s because Twine aims to whittle the Internet into specific areas of interest. If there is a topic you follow, you start a Twine – which is essentially a blog – and then post content such as videos, hyperlinks, blog posts and news articles.

My first Twine search was “bass guitar.” (When I’m not chasing news scoops, I become a hard-core rockin’ bass player.) The site delivered several Twines, whose content ranged from “how-to” links to videos of former Metallica bassist Cliff Burton.

Burton is of little use to local businesses, so I looked up “Richmond Va.,” and the first thing to pop up was what looked like an advertisement page for the Jefferson Hotel.

I tracked down Christopher Regan, a Californian who put up the post and who handles some marketing for the Jefferson.

“Twine seems to attract a more discerning, higher-income crowd than some other networking sites,” Regan said. “It is a phenomenally semantically rich platform,” meaning that you can post as many words as you want in your Twine, unlike Twitter, with its 140-character limit.

Regan’s theory was that the kind of customers who stay at the Jefferson would find Twine appealing because of the abundance of information that can be posted.

He said Twine also improves search engine optimization, meaning that someone who Googles “hotels in Richmond” can come across the Jefferson’s Twine.

So what’s the application for business?

Most of this Web 2.0 is not designed for business. But that has never stopped businesses from trying to reach customers or at least seem cool and technologically hip. Twine might give a business yet another place to distribute information online. It also allows clients to track a firm in a manner that’s faster than a tweet.

Twine’s founder, Nova Spivak (who is kind of a big deal in the geek community),  has been ahead of the curve during the tech revolution. I caught up with him last week, when he told me he created Twine to simplify the web.

“Information overload was a problem for me, and I knew it was a problem for a lot of other people,” Spivak said. “So we developed Twine as a place where people could channel their interests and connect with others who share those interests. You can keep track of people, gather information and aggregate content.”

Recent numbers from Compete.com indicate that Twine’s is beginning to take off. In April, it had more than 2 million visitors, up more than 60 percent from the March numbers.

But Twine might not help your business in the social networking world: There is such a thing as posts that are too long, especially in marketing. I lost interest in Regan’s Jefferson post after the first two paragraphs.

More Reading:
Nova Spivack’s Twine Is Red-Hot, Fast Company:

David Larter covers technology for BizSense. His technology reviews run each Tuesday.

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