September 30, 2007 |
I was very intrigued by an article by Paul Glazowski on how Yahoo had unveiled Mash. In his initial remarks Paul stated,” Yahoo! wants to change..” “…it's launched Mash, a site that promises, not unlike all other creations…” As Paul continues, “…right now you’re probably wondering what, if anything, makes Mash special…” Ever being the curious type I read on, Paul really had my interest peaked going by this time as he is prone to do when I read any of his work.
Paul goes on to say “…users may more or less edit the pages of “friends” and vice versa.” “No way, he must be mistaken”, was my initial thought. “Somebody made a mistake”, I said to myself. Now don’t get me wrong, I trust my family and friends but not that much and I certainly could not phantom a social network allowing such a frivolous option. Think of the consequences. In his closing statement Paul commented, “I’ll be betting that Mash’s “openness” turns out to be its secret sauce.”
Those final words were the last straw. Only McDonald’s could make such a bold statement. I had to find out what Paul was talking about at all costs. Was Yahoo finally coming out with something that would shake up Facebook and MySpace and rob McDonald's of its secret sauce in the process?
Since Paul also noted Mash was by invite only and since he didn’t have one to give out I needed to do some personal sleuthing. I began my search by looking for an invite and soon I received one from a colleague and so began my quest. Remember I now had an invite so anything I write from here on is from a hands-on approach as opposed to a second hand rendition of he said, she said, although coodles to Paul who did a bang up job even without an invite.
The first item I notice, much to my irritation, whenever I logged in, is the notice, “What happened to your Profile?” “Well nothing”, I think to myself, “Its right where I left it.”
You should be aware that when you receive an invite the invitee has the choice of creating a profile for you which you can then choose to keep, alter or create a new one based on your personal choices. I chose to alter slightly the one that was created for me. That then takes me back to my original pet peeve when Y! Mash asks, “What happened to your profile?” But then again it is a beta program.
I did like the fact the viewing area on Y! Mash is much better compared to Facebook and unlike FB the modules on your Y! Mash profile page look just as good in the left column as the right. Facebook on the other gives some modules a compressed look depending on which column you choose.
The Mash Pet
A dorky little drawing that allows you to change its name and to feed, pet, mash, snorgle, lick, smack, poke, zap, kill and hunger it.
Not a bad idea if you’re twisted and your parents won’t let you torture your baby brother/sister or the family pet. It reminds me of the Tamagotchivirtual pet era when it seems all the tweens, teens and some adults had to take time-out of their day to feed, clean up and exercise their pet. Some were excessively caring and others, well, let’s say I would not want them caring for my pets.
On another note there is another add-on that allows you to pimp your pet. Now I must admit I had to give my head a shake on that one because I still have flashbacks to the original meaning of Pimp. I have visions of my Mash pet in a bright purple hat with a peacock feather and a long fur coat surround by his… Okay, time-out (gives head a good shake) that was scary.
I did try to change the image, or pimp it as the pimp your pet module suggested, to no avail. Everything stayed as it was. I smacked it for good luck just the same, my bad.
I have to give Yahoo! some credit here because they will allow Flickr and RSS feed choices as well as YouTube, del.icio.us and Twitter as prime examples. There are not, as I see it, enough quality modules to warrant justification for switching from Facebook or MySpace unless you’re hot to play the Karl Marx paddleball. (For those of you who may not know it Karl was the father of communism) or kaleidoscope for those 60’s flashbacks.
I did find the existing modules easy to load and set-up such as the RSS feed and Flickr. The Kaleidoscope I found to be a great waste of valuable real estate. As for the Karl-Marx paddleball, a silly add-on based on a Childs game with political rhetoric at the base of the module which makes me question Yahoo’s thought processes.
To say there is not something for everyone for add-ons would be a fallacy as Yahoo! strives to ensure everyone has the opportunity to have their own individual flavour. I do give them an “A” for effort.
While initially impressed with the overall personal security options, that fact that someone else can create and alter my profile is a little confusing.
Is Yahoo saying I am secure only from those who do not have a Yahoo! account or I am only secure as long as I don’t make you a friend?
According to Yahoo! Mash developer Will Aldrich, “You can make starter profiles for your friends. Think: ‘first round’s on me.’ You can leave your profile open to contributions by trusted friends. You can customize your – or your friend’s – profile with modules from a growing gallery of apps.”
As I examined further I did note there is the choice to disallow changes to your site by outsiders. The question arises, “Why allow it in the first place?”
What others are saying
MYADSL News, “Yahoo is taking aim at Facebook and MySpace with its about-to-be-launched social networking site Yahoo! Mash – described as a mixture between Facebook and WiKipedia.”
Jordan McCollum, “While certainly interesting, I can’t say that the novelty of easily defacing your friends’ (and “non'friends”) profiles will propel Mash to Facebook/MySpace heights.”
C/net News, “Yahoo's new social network, Mash, is appropriately named. It feels like a mash-up of Facebook, MySpace, and Wikipedia. It's taken the best–or, at least, most popular–features from these services and put them together in a very compelling social service. I strongly doubt it will suffer the same fate of that other social network, the failing Yahoo 360.”
Web Metrics Guru, “In fact, Yahoo! Mash was so boring it probably sent Lee Odden to sleep... he knows when he wakes up he'll have a ton more Yahoo! Mash friends….how much more boring can it get?”
Yahoo! Mash while trying to be trendy has a long way to go. While I do give them credit for trying, I must admit that in this context trying is just that, trying, when it comes to Yahoo! Mash.
I will admit, it does seem to be getting a lot of rave reviews, but I do question the validity of the majority. Do I hold out any hope of Y! Mash even coming close to competing with Facebook and MySpace as examples, NO, only time will tell the real story.
In the interest of fair play and competition, I wish Yahoo! all the best. Meanwhile, as I try to delete my account details I bid Yahoo Mash adieu. And as for McDonald's, I feel their secret sauce is still safely under their control, for now.