The following conversation happens to me on almost a daily basis:
Q: What do you do?
A: I run an Internet startup called Yonkly.
Q: What is Yonkly?
A: Yonkly is a hosted microblog platform that allows anyone to create his white-label Twitter-like community.
Q: What is Twitter?
A: Twitter is a microblog
Q: What is a microblog?
A: blah blah
Now, I will be able to answer these questions by simply pointing them to this article.
So, what is microblogging? Or a better question is how do you explain microblogging to someone who doesn’t know what Twitter is? At the risk of sounding condescending to the person I am speaking to, I try to break things down to the basics using terms he is familiar with.
Almost 9 out of 10 times the person I am talking to knows what Facebook is. I mean, my dad has more friends on Facebook than I do and he is 61 and English is his second language. So, I usually start with Facebook.
You already know Facebook. Imagine the status box in Facebook – that’s the box where you write a short sentence about what you are feeling/doing/thinking/etc…
Now take that status box and then remove everything else from Facebook – no photos, no wall, no applications, no videos, nothing – just the status box.
What do you end up with? The answer is: Twitter
And, what is Twitter? It’s a microblog. Just like the Facebook status box, you update your status in a microblog, your friends will see it and you will see your friends’ updates. Now, you are microblogging.
It is important to point out an important distinction between the Facebook status box and microblogging. Microblogging is public (most of the time). Everything you write (microblog) can be seen by the whole world. Go ahead and visit my twitter page at www.twitter.com/eibrahim and you will be able to read all my updates. Even if we are not friends on Twitter and even if you are not signed up or logged in. Note: Some microblogs enable you to control the privacy of your updates so that only your friends can see them.
Another distinction is the way “friendship” works in microblogs. You can “follow” anyone you want and anyone can “follow” you. Following someone means that you are interested in what they have to say and that you want their updates to show up on your homepage – think of it as subscribing to their microblog. It is also important to note that you can send direct/private messages only to users that are following you. This reduces spam; since if you spam your followers, most likely they will stop following you. This is true both in Twitter and Yonkly-powered microblogs.
So how do you use Twitter or microblogs in general? Well there are many ways to use microblogs; some people use them for marketing their products, services, company, website, blog, book or whatever. Others use it to communicate with like-minded people to share ideas and/or links. I personally follow people that I am interested in what they are saying such as other developers, entrepreneurs, marketers and so on. Sometime I will post an update that is completely useless.
Other times, I will post useful stuff.
Sometimes I will ask a question.
9 out of 10 times I get an answer within minutes. I also answer other people questions whenever I can.
You can see more of my updates (and follow me) at www.twitter.com/eibrahim.
Now you know what Twitter is and what Microblogs are, so what is Yonkly? Imagine you want to create a website that does the same thing as Twitter but for a niche market/special-interest/specific topic, how would you do it? There are several options out there.
- You can create the software or hire someone to create it for your from scratch. It will probably cost several thousands to develop, test, debug and maintain.
- You can buy an off the shelf microblog platform or download and open source/free version (www.yonkly.com/buy) and then pay someone to customize it, host it and maintain it for you.
- Or you can create a microblog in about 30 seconds at www.yonkly.com for under $5/month.
That’s what Yonkly allows you to do. We do not compete with Twitter or Facebook. We provide a platform for YOU to create your own microblog network about anything. For example, we have a customer that created a microblog for photography enthusiasts.
We have another that created a collaborative writing microblog at www.writezoo.com
Another customer created a t-shirt community at www.teeburb.com
That begs the question: Why should I create a Yonkly-Powered microblog when I can just use Twitter? Like I said earlier there are many reasons to do so. Maybe you want to:
- create a community for your product or service
- create a community for your customers
- create a community for a special-interest topic or group (sports, brand, movie star, TV show, etc.)
- create a collaborative environment for your company/team/group/association
Why use Yonkly and not the competition?
- Yonkly is better – really, try it out for yourself.
- Yonkly is white-label (see www.isweat.com, there is no reference of Yonkly and is completely self contained)
- You can use your own domain.
- You can post pictures and text
- You can customize the look and feel
- You can customize the status update size and the question to ask your users
- Yonkly integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Picasa
- Yonkly has a powerful admin control panel
I hope this article serves its intended purpose of answering the questions mentioned above and more importantly the question “What is Yonkly?”. If you still have questions then please post them below.