The New York Times* just soft-launched “Times People,” a simple and compelling social networking tool. By following other Times People users you can see stories they recommend, their ratings of movies and restaurants, and their comments on stories and blog posts. In turn people following you can see your Times activity. I’ve been using it for a few weeks, and I love it.
It’s available right now as a Firefox plugin; support for other browsers may come later. There’s also a Facebook app, which ties Times People into your mini-feed.
While I applaud the decision to keep this first release dead simple, I hope it evolves into a proper profile system for the Times, and replaces the existing “member center,” which needs to be put out to pasture.
The Times has launched some cool stuff lately, and this is by far my favorite. It’s elegantly straightforward and truly useful. Unlike most social networks, where adding to your contact list doesn’t give you much more than the queasy sense of being an acquisitive stalker**, your Times People network gives you something immediately useful, in the form of great stuff to read.
*I work at the Times, but wasn’t involved with this, other than as fanboy. The project was lead by Derek Gottfrid, the same guy who wrote TimesMachine.
** One reason Wordie doesn’t have ‘friends.’ Everybody stalks everybody.
I loved the last sentence 🙂
Dropping off a link to an article about Colbert’s “truthiness”, sorry to be OT:
Mark Peters on the Colbert Suffix, GOOD Magazine. I thought the Wordie community might enjoy it. (brandelion)
My Times People, so far:
1) N-O-B-O-D-Y lists me as a contact, making my recommendations completely useless since nobody will ever read them;
2) None of my actual friends/acquaintances is on TP, but you (John);
3) Based on my recommendations, the only friend suggestions that the system gives me is… myself.
Hi Peter. I am, of course, totally biased, but I really like Times People, I find interesting articles through it pretty regularly. Initially I was only following one person, but I then went and followed a bunch of the people connected to that person, including a bunch of Times muckety-mucks who regularly recommend good stuff.
In terms of having my recommendations actually seen by someone, I tied my Times People feed in to my Facebook (there’s a TimesPeople FB app, which puts your recs in your mini-feed) and FriendFeed accounts.