Well here it is, I’ve been dieing to write this entry for some time now. The crew at VIRB° have been promising a whole swag of awesome features for ages now and they’re finally starting to deliver.
So here they are – 10 solid reasons why I (and many, many others) believe VIRB° is going to give MySpace a damn good run for it’s money in the coming 12 months.
1. Clean, Intuitive, Unobtrusive Layout
The most striking thing about VIRB° is it’s clean content and navigational layout. There’s equal, if not more (definitely for those who know their way around HTML and CSS coding), customisation options for personalising how your own page should look. And if, like me, you find nothing more annoying than some people’s penchant for glitter graphics and downright visually offensive backgrounds, you have the option of turning off customisation (VIEW SCREENCAST) on ANYONE’s page at any time.
Here’s a taste of some of the amazing profile designs that are popping up throughout the site:
PS. Coming soon everyone will have the option of being able to save multiple profile designs/layouts that will be able to be switched through at will. Create your own special Xmas design that you can switch to each year. Again… Brilliant!
2. Import Blog Entries
Blogging is by all accounts the new fad in the online world and every “membership” site out there these days seems to have a blogging feature either already built into the service (eg. MySpace, Facebook, MSN LIVE Spaces etc) or there’s plans for one in the near future.
Everything is fine and dandy if you only use one of these sites and therefore only have to transfer your thoughts and other mindless dribble to your keyboards the one time only. But what if you want to add your Blog entries to a number of sites… without having to copy and paste a gazillion times over? This is where RSS feeds come in handy and where the good folk at VIRB° have once again taken into consideration the online habits of their users and made things super easy.
Most Blog applications (WordPress, Typepad, Live Journal, Blogger and even MySpace *spit*) have RSS feeds automatically built into the service making it easy to transport your content to other sites that support the import of such data. Forward thinking social networking sites like Facebook and now VIRB° have recognised the need for Blog importing via and RSS feeds and “voila” just like that, yet another reason why MySpace is being left behind.
Check out this great little screencast and you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s so easy to do!
One of my ABSOLUTE favourite bits of VIRB° is their “Virbtunes” feature. Just like in MSN Messenger where you can share the names of the musical tracks you are listening to in iTunes or Winamp at any one time with your friends, by downloading and installing a small add-on piece of software to your iTunes, VIRB° will keep a full history of the tunes you are listening to and provide you with a number of ways you can share the information with your friends. For example, you can add modules to your homepage to display the most recent songs you have listened to, your all-time most listened to artists and more.
And don’t worry if you let a Billy Ray Cyrus track slip through accidentally, you have the option of getting into your playlist history on your VIRB° account and deleting whatever you don’t want your friends to see.
Finally, with the all new “VIRB° Transport” feature (see below), you can now share your playlists ANYWHERE on the net with a little snippit of code you can pick up from your VIRB° Transport page. Once again it’s OH-SO-EASY to do and will allow you to share information like your most recently listened to tracks (in real time).
To learn more about this awesome feature, check out the “Virbtunes” page under “Music” once you have created your profile.
4. Flickr Integration
Just like like Blog features, most social networking sites have some kind of photo album feature built in. This is great, but once again uploading, tagging, captioning and grouping your images 5 different times on 5 different sites (for example) is way too time consuming. And why try to reinvent the wheel anyway? Flickr is easily recognised as the best photo sharing site out there and it has the added benefit of cleverly allowing you to share your Flickr data with other web applications. Surprise, surprise, the guys at VIRB° have recognised the need for a Flickr integration feature to enable people out there to manage their images ONE TIME on Flickr and magically have the results automatically reflected on your VIRB° profile.
Check out this great Flickr integration screencast to see just how easily this is achieved.
5. Widescreen Videos / Lights Out
It’d be pretty hard for ANY site to match YouTube in the video sharing department. So the clever peeps at VIRB° give you a couple of great features to make your video sharing experiences on VIRB° just that little bit different… just that little bit better. For starters you get the option of widescreen videos! Everything’s better in widescreen… let’s face it! And watching your favourite movies is always better in the dark right? Well what do you know… VIRB° gives you the option to “turn out the lights”.
All is explained in this “lights-out” screencast.
6. VIRB° Transport
As far as I’m concerned, this is the grand daddy of all the MySpace killing features on VIRB°. Imagine being able to feature modules from your VIRB° profile on any site on the Internet where you can paste small snippets of HTML? Imagine being able to insert your VIRB° friends list on your personal blog, or create a video portfolio that you can feature anywhere? Well now you can with VIRB° Transport.
For more information, check out the VIRB° Transport screencast.
7. Hugely versatile groups
The full compliment of “Group” features are still being rolled out so I will no doubt be updating this section in the near future, but right now you get the option to start any kind of group, choose how membership is decided (open to everyone, invite only etc) and participate in the nifty thread style “Shoutbox” comments area.
Here’s some examples of groups that I have personally started:
Expanded features for groups are coming soon and I personally can’t wait to see what the lads come up with. I’ll update this section accordingly as soon as the new stuff is rolled out.
8. Recent Activity
The last thing you want to have to do is visit EVERY one of your friends’ pages to see if they have updated anything. Thankfully with VIRB° recent activity of your mates is listed right there on your VIRB° homepage. As soon as anyone posts a new blog entry, adds new photos to their VIRB° photo album (doesn’t yet work with the Flickr import feature) or even videos to their VIRB° collection, you will know straight away.
Try and match that MySpace! What’s that? You can’t? No… I didn’t think so.
9. Edit Friendships
We all do it… add friends who aren’t really friends just because they wrote you a really sweet friend request. But sometimes you don’t want these “quasi-acquaintances” seeing the announcements and recent activity that you would normally reserve for your closest of buddies. No problem.
10. All the Small Things…
I could have easily made this “15 Reasons…” but I do actually want to get to sleep tonight and I don’t want to spoil all the exploratory fun for you all. But here’s a few other sweet features you will find along the way:
- The ability to specify your own unique VIRB° URL (eg. http://www.virb.com/masey)
- A really nifty Ajax powered friend search tool on your VIRB° homepage
- Preview music while you are browsing or sifting through friend requests
- Announcements – a quick way of getting a message to all of your friends
- Custom Modules – in case you want to put something in your profile that doesn’t fit anywhere else.
And there’s so many more that you can read about on the very cool “VIRB° New Features” page.
The revolution has already begun people. Long-time MySpacers are deserting the messy, over-commercialised, sleezy, tired site for something new and exciting. It’s called VIRB° and it’s time you got on board.
SIGN UP now and tell all your friends! If it helps, send this Blog post to your friends (click on the “Share this” link up top) and let them decide for themselves. I think I put forward a pretty convincing case!
Oh yeah, and comments (below) and links to this entry are always welcome!