February 09, 2011

Convore Brings Bulletin Boards Into World of Real-Time

The new Web never runs out of great ideas for small groups of people to discuss topics with friends, share catchy images and videos and collaborate. From the earliest BBSes to public chatrooms, lifestreaming applications and today's social networking powerhouses, people are constantly searching for new communities and looking for new tools that make it easier to share - either to the general public or in private groups. Even as 2007 to 2009 saw an explosion of mass broadcasting tools letting you reach thousands of people with the same identical message, 2010 and 2011 are seeing a retrenching into more private groups, centered on similar interests, shared experiences or location - hence mobile apps like Beluga, Yobongo, GroupMe and TextPlus. On the Web, you've also seen groups play a role on Facebook, FriendFeed previously and many other sites.

For the last few months, I've been spending way too much of my time in the late evenings on a fun site so secret I never told you - not because of its dark subject matter or inappropriate content, but simply because it hadn't yet been ready to launch. Today, Convore goes live. Started by Eric Florenzano, Eric Maguire and Leah Culver, formerly of Pownce via Six Apart, the team has been building what Florenzano called "a targeted subset of FriendFeed", the once popular social networking site that rose quickly and fell in the eyes of Silicon Valley nearly as fast, being overweighted with features that may have confused the message.

Popular Topics on Convore With Messages to Read

Discussion of Windows Phone 7 on Convore

Eric told me, in a 1-1 phone interview at the beginning of the year that what Convore is interested in is groups and group-based apps, including the communication aspects of this medium. The site is designed with each topic having its own chat room, in a smaller group, for those folks who are interested in specific topics.

A User Profile on Convore With Stars, Messages Statistics

"We want each group to have its own identity," Eric said. "As Twitter has grown, it is less easy to say things we once did. With a smaller group of your friends, you can feel a lot more comfortable saying whatever the heck you want."

Like any good geek-initiated site, much of Convore's initial discussions have centered around tech, the benefits of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Internet memes. Where the product is especially fun is in sharing of rich media, as the service auto-supports image URLs and hosts them locally. With some momentum, a silly image share can lead to a real-time barrage of sharing from friends that is hard to duplicate anywhere else. You can also star items to reward posters or save the updates for later.

Lest the overlap with FriendFeed be too clear, Convore is funded by Y! Combinator, which includes Paul Buchheit, cofounder of FriendFeed, and a former Facebooker. It's also worth noting the site does not aggregate any external content, but only hosts new discussions. If you start engaging with other users of the site, a helpful "bell" that signals new updates in threads where you are active can keep you as addicted as Pavlov's dog. I've made hundreds of updates there and no doubt will be putting more time into one of my favorite sites. Check it out at http://www.convore.com.

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