Fast five sites: Disqus, Plaxo, LinkRiver, Diigo, fav.or.it
Almost everyday, I’ll read something on the web that refers to another website, online service, or application that makes me think: I need to check that out when I get a chance.
Thought it might sense to roll out a semi-regular column where I take a look at these sites. Hopefully the idea will be to spread the word on cool but not massively well known things going on in the interwebs, while providing a quick cheat sheet of sorts.
* Disqus – “Turn your blog comments into a webwide discussion.”
I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers talking about and using Disqus over the past few months. The main idea seems to be that you install Disqus on your blog, which then allows commenters to display a profile pic and also provides threaded conversations (you can reply to a specific comment, which is indented underneath the comment you’re replying to). Disqus also provides e-mail and mobile posting, which is pretty cool.
Disqus aggregates all of the comments that you’ve made across the Internet on sites that have Disqus installed on a standalone profile page. This is a step forward in centralizing conversations, but I have a hard time seeing this as a killer feature except for those people who comment avidly and often but don’t necessarily have their own blog or website as a homebase.
Comment ratings and the ability create a Top Commenters widget may be the best aspects of this service. I may need to get Disqus installed on Online Media Cultist one of these day.
* Plaxo – “Stay in touch with people you care about.”
It’s a little bit difficult to tell exactly what Plaxo is straight away, which is not a good sign. However, delving in a little bit, it appears to be a social networking site with a strong emphasis on media sharing (you can tie in a bevy of “websites I use” from photo sharing, social networking, and blogging/microblogging categories). The address book and calendar features also look particularly strong.
My overall impression is that this is a social networking site for grownups, heavy on the business contacts and photo-sharing, light on the flirting and profile customization.
* LinkRiver – “Share and Discover the Best of the Web.”
There’s no big mystery to what LinkRiver is about; you know right away that you’re going to get links to lots and lots of stuff. A helpful explanation at the top of the page tells us that “A user’s river contains all links shared by that user AND all links shared by users followed by that user.”
Looking at the list of “Follows,” it seems obvious that LinkRiver wants to be a source for the best links on the web, provided by thought leaders and top bloggers.
So I suppose that LinkRiver is in some ways a competitor to Techmeme, a different slice on how the top news of the day is organized, aggregated, and presented.
* Diigo – “Diigo is a powerful research tool and a knowledge-sharing community”
My quick take on Diigo is that it combines a browser plug-in that allows you to highlight portions of text on webpages with a social networking community focused on the highlighting/social bookmarking activity. Diigo pitches itself as a “collaborative research platform” that can help to “improve your research productivity.” That really makes sense if you think about it like studying for a college exam with thousands of other people highlighting portions of text books for you.
* fav.or.it – An “RSS reader for the masses.”
While I’ve been a strong supporter of RSS readers for years, of late I’ve been musing whether services like Techmeme combined with Twitter or Friendfeed may be more efficient in “bringing the news to you.” Fav.or.it claims that it “contains 1000′s of RSS feeds and with our slice system you can cut the web up into your own readable chunks.”
We also know that fav.or.it “is a unique product that not only allows you to aggregate content like a newsreader but also allows you to post comments, all without leaving its site.”
I was not able to register for the site as it’s still in private beta. My big question is whether fav.or.it will offer full text RSS feeds to its community along with commenting and other media-sharing features. If it does, that’s a huge red flag for me, as I’ve noted in a few recent stories looking at Shyftr.