We’ve been spending a good deal of time on social network Chime.in (formerly Mixx.com), a social voting site described by Mashable as a combination of “Twitter, Blogging and Reddit.” After several weeks of interaction with the Chime.in community and exploration of the UI, we happily confirm Mashable’s prognosis: Chime.in, UberMedia’s take on social networking, is a game-changer and a reminder of what Digg and StumbleUpon could have been if they had listened to their communities.
In the words of UberMedia CEO Bill Gross, unlike Twitter, which considers itself an “information network,” Chime.in is an “interest network,” connecting users to the information and communities that they choose to subscribe to. Similar to Reddit, the content of a user’s homepage depends upon the people/interests they are following. The default view is referred to as the “People Chimeline,” a timeline of Chimes curated/shared by the users you follow. These can be links, videos or images (when choosing to submit a photo or video, unlike most social sites, Chime.in prompts their users to upload a video or image of their own and even has the option for snapping a quick shot or video via a users own webcam, similar to Facebook), a community poll, or even a blog post with a generous limit of 5000 characters.
In addition to all of these wonderful features, Chime.in also enables users to create what they call Storyboards, collections of various Chimes which may or may not share a universal theme. Here are some examples:
- Best of Chime.in 2011: The best Chimes of 2011 as chosen by Chimers and the editorial team in the categories of #Writing, #Humor, #Photography, #Geekery, #DIY, #Food, #Video, #ScienceFiction and #Movies
- A Hiker’s Perspective: A collection of interviews and trail recommendations from hiking enthusiasts within the Chime.in community
- Adventures of Indiana Jones: If Indiana Jones was a real person and not a fictional movie character, the subject of one of these chimes would probably be his next big adventure
As you can tell, Storyboards can take any number of directions, much like the overall experience of Chime.in, where users have an incredible amount of freedom in terms of community participation and creativity, including customizable profiles, crowdsourced communities and all of the aforementioned goodies.
That said, here are some closing critiques. Please keep in mind that Chime.in is in beta and that their team of community managers and programmers are incredibly diligent at resolving bugs and implementing improvements/updates:
- Like any new social site, spammers are almost always the first people there. Luckily, Chime.in allows users to report suspicious links and promptly removes them.
- Subscribing by topics should be simplified. Presently, a user must click on a chime’s tag to navigate to these pages, or use Chime.in’s search feature. This is important because this is the only way to subscribe to new interests following a user’s initial signup. We would really like to see Chime.in implement an “interest” page or one for “popular interests.”
- If you happen to be an active user of Chime.in with many interests, many community memberships or are a founder of a collection of communities, things can become a bit jumbled in your homepage sidebar navigation and the site-wide header navigation. Too many interests or communities leaves users with intimidating, non-alphabetized lists that become tiresome to hunt and peck through for favorites. Chime.in should definitely consider allowing users to sort these lists alphabetically or by density of use.
- Lack of a WordPress plugin for Chime.in badges. The staff at Chime.in should definitely get in touch with the developers of Shareaholic/Sexy Bookmarks, Sociable, DiggDigg, and Sharedaddy if they don’t plan on providing a WordPress plugin themselves.
UPDATE: As of September, 2013, Chime.in has shuttered its doors.