Most of us use the Internet every day. Whether for work, school or play, the Internet is woven into the very fabric of our lives. Although we spend so much of our time online, we rarely give much thought to what actually makes up the content of the Internet.
Let’s be clear, the Internet is really divided into three types of stuff: (1) terribly addictive, uncomfortably funny or tremendously valuable content, (2) average, run-of-the-mill, “I already knew that” -type content and finally (3) utter crap.
As a marketer, you’ve created content in all three buckets before (nobody bats 1.000…), and as a web surfer, you know that the Internet is almost 99.999% composed of bucket #3.
No, seriously, the Internet is almost completely filled with useless, boring content that probably only appealed to the one person that made it.
Not to be a downer, but I only harp on this fact to say that I had a dream. I had a dream that I lived in a world where the Internet was only filled with interesting, valuable and funny content.
Things that would make me look 100 times smarter than I am, and content that would make my potential customers flock to my accounts and talk to me for days about whatever I had shared.
Then one day, I was asked to review Amplify.com, and I thought my dreams had come true…
Ampli-Who Dot What?
On the surface, Amplify.com just seems like another site that wants you to share what you like (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) and connects you with friends who do the same. The front page graphic gives off a music site feel. I even thought it was a bit rock-star (like myself)… until I saw the water cooler in the middle of the crowd.
Amplify.com is as simple as the graphic on the front page suggests. They want you to share interesting things from the Internet with your peers, but only “water cooler-worthy” stuff. More on that in a second…
What Can It Do?
Like Twitter, But Longer
Amplify.com lets you microblog just like Twitter, but your limit is 500 characters. The days of showing restraint online are numbered.
Blog Via Email
You can post content (blogs, snippets, photos, etc.) to your Amplify stream via email. Amplify.com gives you a personal email address to send content to, which will automatically add that content to your stream. Unlike other sites with this feature, Amplify.com doesn’t make you memorize a 6,000-character email address. You have a short convenient address customized to your username. I consider that a victory for the little guy.
Find Content Based On Subject
Want to find all of the best content for social media? Easy. Just click “social media” and browse the best stuff. There are several categories to choose from and the content is sorted chronologically.
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What’s The Main Event?
Ok, I’ll be honest; none of these features by themselves are impressive. You can do all of these things on Facebook without ditching your friends and setting up another profile (which we all LOVE to do… right?). Fortunately, Amplify.com redeems itself from a life of redundancy by adding one simple feature that can save the entire Internet. Interested? Let me explain.
Remember when I said that the Internet is 99% utter crap? That’s true, but if we’re really being honest, even the really good articles that we read are at least 30% filler (not this one, though J). It reminds me of a lesson I learned when I took a speed-reading class:
“There are plenty of good books to read, but more importantly, there are plenty of good chapters to read.”
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Think about that. What if you could share a fantastic article without having to share the part that isn’t amazing? Amplify.com has the answer. They allow you to clip any section of any site and share only that section on Amplify.com, or one of the several social networks that you can post to automatically.
Find a great couple of paragraphs in a New York Times article? Great, only share that section. Find a blog with three great tips? Take the tips, leave the rest.
Amplify.com has given us a chance to trim the fat off of the Internet. Yes, my heart just fluttered.
Why I’m Not Doing A Cartwheel Right Now
Unfortunately, it’s not all butterflies and candy corn with Amplify.com. While bringing us one of the greatest tools online, they’ve also allowed some of the tools that kinda make the Internet suck in the first place.
The site needs a filtering option. I click on a popular topic and about half of the options are in a language that I can’t understand, and that’s bad news. Chronological order is OK, but if the section is called “popular topics,” I expect the links to be… you know… popular. That leads me to my real point.
Amplify.com is a great site, but it would be amazing with a ranking system. The problem with the Internet is that anyone can post anything on it and you have to sift through the junk to get to the goods. Amplify.com’s clip functionality is useless if I still have to sort through everyone’s junk to get to the best clips.
Allowing the site’s users not only to comment (they allow this already) but also to rank content would really “Amplify” the best clips and move the site to the “water cooler-talk” level that the front page suggests.
As with most dreams, my love affair with Amplify.com was slightly soured by having to sift through so many posts. As with any new site, there will be kinks along the way. And while there is a “Recommend” feature, it works more like a retweet than a content judgment system, which is what it would take for me to really like it.
Amplify.com has a bright future ahead of it, and the issues I see now seem more of the “growing pain” variety than the “death knell” variety. As of today, Amplify.com scores a 7 out of 10.
Have you used Amplify.com yet? What did you think about it? Do you know of another site with the “clip” functionality? Have a site that you’d like to see reviewed? Let us know in the box below!
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