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March 27, 2009

Dipity – Go Ahead…Be a Show-Off

ss-dipity

One day we’re going to look back on the early social networking sites and see them like the first motion pictures – classics, but rudimentary in form. There’s no doubt that social networking is here to stay because new sites are emerging that greatly improve on current functionality. Case in point is a site like Dipity, which increases the potential for social networking across the board.

The only trouble with Dipity is that it’s somewhat confusing unless you really dig in – unlike a site like Twitter. Dipity works by pulling content from other major internet portals like YouTube and Flickr. This information is displayed in a timeline fashion, unveiling a sort of “story” for each person’s Dipity. It’s kind of like a horizontal Squidoo lens, or a horizontal Twitter account, which you can scroll through and find different information in different media.

Though it has the potential to take the Internet by storm, the fact that it’s not immediately apparent how to use the service means it may take some time – especially as the FAQs and the About page are not very well designed for new users. Like Twitter, users can “Follow” other users, so you can keep tabs on the Dipity’s of other users that you find interesting. Given the fact that people have social networking accounts scattered across the internet, Dipity is a neat central portal where you can see a consolidated view of internet activity all in one place.

Practical Uses:

  • Promote your business by showing all your different social networking promotional efforts
  • Organize a YouTube TV show – all of the different videos will be shown individually on a timeline, making it easier for your audience to view one at a time
  • Get more traffic to your site by adding content about the most searched topics of the moment
  • Show when new exhibits/sports events/concerts are coming up with media of former events, depending on the nature of your medium (art, music, sports, etc.)
  • Create a timeline that corresponds to a class syllabus

Insider Tips:

  • Look through other people’s Dipity’s based on topic – a good way to learn about a topic via a variety of media
  • Use mashups like Timetube and Tickr which incorporate YouTube and Flickr respectively
  • One of the easiest ways to get to know Dipity is to have it rearrange your blog posts as a Dipity timeline
  • For added visibility, embed a timeline on your blog

What we liked:

  • It’s a unique take on the timeline concept – not many other sites do it like this
  • A great way to view a variety of media all in one place
  • Innovative – this feels like the future of social networking

What we didn’t like:

  • It’s not very easy to use – especially for non computer-literate people. Some people have trouble with Facebook and this is like Facebook on steroids
  • The timelines are not that easy to navigate – content doesn’t really stand out from other content so you could end up clicking on something that’s not useful
  • It’s fairly expensive for a social network. Free accounts only support 50 MB of upload space and three timelines

Alternatives:

Company Info:

  • Launched: April 2007
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: Austin TX & San Francisco, CA
  • Founded by: Derek Dukes and Zack Steinkamp
  • Web site: http://www.dipity.com

Costs:

  • Free for limited storage and timelines, paid accounts start at $4.95 per month