Microsoft hopes its new site So.cl (pronounced “social”) will make some friends in the social networking ecosystem.
You never want to be the person who says a new social network isn’t going to take off, because there’s always the chance that you will be proven wrong in astonishing fashion. But I think it’s safe to say So.cl is far from being a game changer or even something that will have mass appeal.
Think of So.cl as Pinterest meets Google+ meets Bing search, which reveals its main barrier to success. In the already crowded space of social networking – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Quora, LinkedIn, etc. – who has time for another platform?
The site explains “So.cl is not meant to replace existing full-featured search and social networking tools.” Rather, the site aims to use “a minimal set of features” to “combine search with the social network for the purpose of expressing and sharing ideas with rich visual collages, organized by interests.”
Like all social networks, So.cl has a feed that shows you activity on the site and you can filter your feed based on people you follow, your interests, and more, much like Google+ circles.
To make a post on So.cl, you start with a Bing-powered search (in fact, all external content must come through Bing) for an interest and build your post off of the search. After you’ve created a post, other So.cl users can like it by clicking a smiley face, comment on it, or “riff” on it.
So.cl also allows you to watch YouTube videos with other users in chatrooms called “video parties.” Inside these video parties, users watch YouTube playlists and can chat in real time about the videos being watched.
So.cl’s target audience is college students, but convincing the 18-24 demographic that they need to add yet another social network to their daily routines is probably a bridge too far, even for Microsoft.