While Twitter is hitting a new heat wave, Friendfeed just won the Crunchie Award for the Best New Startup 2008, and dear Jaiku keeps struggling with its maintenance issues, and just announced going open source!, what better time than to bring a new player into the field – Bloggy.se.
Bloggy is a Swedish microblogging service in Swedish, and a one-man show by Jonas Lejon. It all started for eight months ago as a free time project alongside with full time job and a newborn baby. (And then I haven’t even mentioned a bunch of other web services Jonas has in his portfolio.) He had been a frequent user of both Jaiku, Twitter and Pownce (recently closed down) but wasn’t too pleased with any of them. He also wanted to bring microblogging to the non-tech savvy crowds, so he picked out the goodies from the other services and molded them into Bloggy.se.
On September 25th last year the first closed beta invitations were given to the Swedish Jaiku community and the reactions were immediate. Speculations on whether Bloggy was going to take over Jaiku were raised. (In Swedish)
The service was well received, as some of the first comments by couple of heavy Jaiku users can tell:
(Translated from Swedish)
– “Thought I was going to call it an early night but happened to stumble in here. Having a crush…:) ” @mymlansofia
– “Testing Bloggy.se. Extremely impressed by Jonas Lejon.” @tedvalentin
– ”Bloggy.se is the first serious candidate to threaten Jaiku within “the Bubble” (Jaiku user group) (OMG, what am I saying? I, who can’t live without Jaiku)”. @morris
Jonas has been a true crowd surfer since the start, and he continuously keeps asking their advice on both logo design and future features. Bloggy uses Get Satisfaction as the customer service and support tool.
Today, four months later, Bloggy has over one thousand users and growing. The Swedish industry bloggers have listed Bloggy as one of the highlights of the year, and even called it the microblog service of the year. (Both articles in Swedish)
So, what is under the Bloggy hood?
A Bloggy user gets an easy-to-follow user interface with threaded posts and comments, customized profile design, lifestreaming by adding feeds and all standard update (mobile, SMS, MMS) and notification (Jabber/Gtalk, email) features. Bloggy has support for updating both Twitter and Jaiku statuses. At the moment Bloggy is the only microblogging service in Sweden offering outgoing SMS updates (only on incoming SMS). Posts has standardized length of 140 characters, but like Jaiku the comment length is unlimited, a feature that encourages conversations. Bloggy users find new friends and topics on the main page that shows the public feed with current new members and a tag cloud with popular words.
It also offers the “I like/heart” feature, as part of the service itself, as does Friendfeed. There are now rumors about the similar feature on Facebook. Bloggy has support for geolocation services such as FireEagle and Geode, and there is naturally an API for developers.
According to Jonas himself the users have been especially happy about the automatically updated and threaded posts and comments (Ajax implementation). Jonas himself is most proud of the quick response times of the service, alongside the fact that Bloggy already contains almost all the functionality of the other microblogging platforms.
Unique to Bloggy is all the different file upload formats it supports (.JPG, .PNG, .GIF, AVI, MPG, 3GP, .MP3), all up to 20Mb. The user can also upload images via MMS (Friendfeed has Mail2FF).
The service differs from Twitter, Friendfeed and Jaiku in two ways: The user can’t choose to be private, only public profiles are supported. It is also possible for anyone to leave a comment without being a registered user.
When now launching (In Swedish) in public beta, Jonas has added more features into Bloggy. It is now possible to update your status using Hello.txt and ping.fm, services that make life easier for those who want to update all their social networks at once. If you rather hang out on GTalk/Jabber all day, you no longer need to leave it to update your Bloggy status, there’s support for it, too.
Is there a future for Bloggy?
Microblogging and social networks, as we have come to know, are all about where one’s friends are, but with Bloggy filled with lots of functionality, channels on the way and continuous improvement of the user experience, I think “There is likely plenty of room in the niche and custom communities precisely because Twitter is purely public” as Rob Diana on louisgray.com so well argues. Why? For example, I’ve already noticed the use of #svpt (Swedes on Twitter) hash tag on Twitter just to track other Swedes and Swedish conversations. It’s a jungle out there and the need to hang out with your own people and alikes is very strong.