August 5, 2007

Oh geez, not ANOTHER social network…

Over the last few months a few of us here at Plaxo have been working hard on a little project called Pulse (press release found here). Well, word got out about it a little early and people were getting a little hot and bothered in the blogosphere for anything that looks like it could take on big daddy Facebook.……
Let me tell you up front that this isn’t our intention. I love Facebook and I’ll probably never stop using it.
I sign in at least 10 times a day to see what all of my high school and college friends are up to. I constantly update my status, upload photos, and have spent dozens of dollars sending oh so stupid “gifts” to my friends. Facebook has totally nailed it. So what’s the problem?
I will never add my mom as a friend on Facebook.
You see, I’m 22, and I’ve been part of the “Facebook Generation” since 2003 when it spread like wildfire on the campus of RPI. Facebook is a place for me and my college friends. I’ve created a persona that doesn’t reflect my family or professional life. I don’t want my mom or potential employers seeing the Halloween pictures of me wearing a turquoise tank top that says “Mrs. Timberlake” in pink glitter. She’d have to go to therapy and I’d have to hit up the unemployment line.
So how is Pulse different?
Your friends and family are creating great online content everyday: photos, videos, restaurant reviews, and a lot more. The problem is that it’s scattered over hundreds of sites and you have no idea when it gets updated. Pulse is a social network for your REAL life. When you connect to someone, you categorize them as a friend, family member, or in your business network. You tell us which sites you already use, and through the power of RSS and APIs we’ll pull in whatever you update and share it with who you tell us to (your family, your real friends, or your business network).
Here are the sites we have so far:, AOL Pictures,, Digg, Flickr, Jaiku,, LiveJournal, MySpace, Picasa, Pownce, Smugmug, Tumblr, Twitter, Webshots, Windows Live Spaces, Xanga, Yahoo! 360, Yelp, and YouTube. (we’ll be adding many more soon)

We want to work WITH Facebook, Digg, YouTube, and every site to connect you to the people you care about. That has always been Plaxo’s goal. I want to drive traffic to Facebook (you’re welcome, Zuck), I hope we get a ton more people reviewing businesses on Yelp, and I pray that there are so many tweets being twitted on Twitter that the internet will slow to a crawl. We want you to be able to share everything from anywhere on the web and we want you to be able to do whatever you want with it. They’re your contacts, it’s your information, and we’re going to do everything we can so that you control it.
Welcome to the open social web. We think you’ll like it here.
–Pete Curley, Product Manager of Pulse
PS. The version of Pulse you see today is a culmination of about 2 months of work from conception to launch (written on top of the totally revamped Plaxo infrastructure, Plaxo 3.0 that we worked so hard on for the last year). That means we didn’t get some things finished that we had wanted to: better profiles, search functionality, RSS feeds from Pulse to the outside world (what use is the open social web if you can’t get your data to anywhere you want?) Oh, yes, and we need to work with the community to develop an open standard that will “open up the social graph,” so you can take your friends list with you wherever you go.
If you have any sites you’d like to see in Pulse, or questions about it in general, feel free to email me at
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Redgee Capili

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  • Marjolein Hoekstra

    Plaxo Team,
    Congratulations on launching Pulse. Now that you mention Twitter: there’s actually quite a bit of buzz about Plaxo on Twitter going on at the moment (yeah, I’m partly to blame for that).
    One of the things I still need to come to terms with is your pricing scheme for the Premium Services. 30 Days of trial is not an awful lot. And what will happen after that?
    I was less impressed with your RSS support: one feed at a time, no OPML import/export, etc. I won’t even mention synchronizing my feeds with a remote OPML. Oops, I just did.
    Thinking it’d be cool if you’d check out the conversation on Twitter, I created a shortened URL on Snipr to it that’s fairly easy to remember:
    Today I’ll put a nifty Plaxo News Radar together that tracks news and reviews about Plaxo real-time.
    Will comment again when it’s done.
    With the best of intentions,
    Marjolein Hoekstra

  • Joseph Smarr

    Marjolein-thanks for your feedback. We’ll definitely support RSS/OPML so you can get your pulse data back out again–we’ve just got a lot on our to-do list and we’re trying to “ship early and often”. :) It would also be cool to get OMPL into Plaxo Pulse, but the one issue is we really want it to be about keeping in touch with people you care about, and not just a general RSS aggregator. But I have a ton of people’s RSS feeds in bloglines and I agree it would be nice to get those in pulse. Hmm…ideas? Thanks, js