How do you share information on the Internet? Normally, we search for something using a search engine. When we come across something important, we copy the link to some social networking site and share it. With so.cl (pronounced social), exploring and sharing things becomes easier. When you log into the so.cl, you get a search bar on the top followed by a bar showing what people are searching and then, the popular topics being explored at that time. You can simply click on one of the topics to view and share the information.
Since Microsoft’s So.cl came into our lives without any fanfare or welcome party. It was launched quietly and probably not many know about it. Still, I find it good (if not great) for exploring/browsing topics of interest and then sharing it via your feed on the networking site. So.cl is a networking site that brings together the strength of search and share. Of course what you share on so.cl is visible only to people who are using so.cl and to those following you on Facebook or Twitter if you opt to share it to these networking sites.
So.cl looks like a combination of Twitter (you follow people to see what they share and they follow you to see what you share), Delicious (tag the items you share so that you can search using tags) and Facebook (you have a timeline that shows you what all are others posting). Similar to Facebook, the timeline keeps on expanding when you reach the bottom of the page.
Exploring The Feed
To the left side of the screen is the Feed option. You can click on it to see five types of views – public (everyone), People I Follow, My Interests, Conversations and My Posts.
The default Feed is Everyone – when you click on it, you are shown what others in general are posting. These need not be the posts of only the people you are following but real-time posts from whoever is using so.cl. You get to see who all are talking about your interests and then, you can follow the people if you want.
The next type of Feed is People I Follow. When you click on it, you are shown posts only from the people you are following. When you click Interests, posts related to your interests are shown. You have to create your interests by typing one or more keywords in the search bar towards the left of the screen.
What To Do With Posts
For each post on So.cl, you can post a Riff (a visual comment) or a normal text comment. In addition, you can tag the post with your own keywords so that you can find them later easily. Finally (this part is the best), you can share the post to Facebook or Twitter. You can also email the post to someone if you want.
I find the tagging part more useful than any other part of So.cl. I can add my custom keywords to tag related posts and then search using that custom keyword so that all those posts appear at the same place. For example, instead of tagging a post related to Windows 8 with “Windows 8”, I can tag it with “My Windows 8 Post List”. When I later run a search on So.cl using “My Windows 8 Post List”, I can instantly retrieve all the posts I tagged with that tag. Kind of useful, isn’t it?
So.Cl Bookmark Button
Almost all networking sites are providing you with instant bookmarking button and so is so.cl. It has a button that you can drag to your browser’s bookmark/favorites bar. This comes handy when you wish to post something to so.cl while surfing the Internet. With any website open, just click the so.cl bookmark button and a new tab opens where you can post the website contents that you wish to share to so.cl. Then you tag it for easy detection later.
Another useful feature of so.cl is that you can create a collection of related videos and name it something for sharing and using later. So.cl calls it video party for some reason. The interface looks like Movie Maker to me. You can keep on adding videos to the timeline by clicking on the plus button and all the movies in the timeline will play one after another. I do not see much of a use for this feature though as you can create playlists in YouTube too. Even then, I created a video list about Windows 8 and few people liked it so I guess people are interested in video parties.
Will the so.cl be useful to all? I do not think so. If you are willing to share what you ate for your breakfast, Twitter and Facebook are better. So.cl is good only to students and people willing to research together. So.cl feeds can be converted into information reservoirs so that all info about each interest (topic) stays at a same place in an organized matter. Riff feature lets you add related posts to the main post so that organizing is made easier. It won’t get as popular as Facebook but still, will stay for long until a better information warehousing website comes up. Though bookmarking sites also help in collecting information at one place, the comment and riff features allow others to post relevant information on the post so I guess so.cl is a step ahead of sites with similar nature.
This concludes my review of so.cl. If you are already using it and have any views on the social networking site from Microsoft, please let us know.