Gleamd: Shed a little light on someone

by 1389 on July 31, 2007

in 1389 (blog admin), Digg, Facebook, search engine, social media, Twitter, wikis

Gleamd screen shot

Looking for the next big thing? We Web 2.0 aficionados hear about the latest and greatest social web applications every day, but each one seems to be described in terms of its competition. Each fledgling “killer app” entering the field is touted as the next “Digg killer” or “Twitter killer” or “Facebook killer.” But here’s an application, still in beta test, whose purpose differs enough from what’s already out there to warrant being considered on its own merits.

What makes Gleamd so different? Let’s start with what Gleamd isn’t. Unlike other fixtures of the social web, gleamd isn’t primarily about its own user base. In other words, if you’re a Gleamd user, it isn’t about wowing everybody with your own multimedia talents, your eye for cool websites, or your nose for news scoops. It isn’t primarily about making business or personal connections with other users, even though you certainly may meet like-minded fellow users on the system.

Then what is Gleamd all about? It’s about promoting other people whom you find interesting and worthy of notice. This can include anyone other than yourself who has at least some presence on the Web, and merits more attention than he or she has received thus far. The media superstars and A-list bloggers already have their ways of reaching the public – this is about promoting lesser-known people who may be more deserving.

Who’s behind gleamd? Let’s hear from developer Matt McInerney, a/k/a mattmc on Twitter, who also runs graphic design website and blog Pixelspread, Twitter sci-fi novella ZombieAttack, among other things:

Right now I’m the only person working on Gleamd. It was my idea that I decided to put together and get out in the world. I created it basically because it was a resource I wanted to use myself. We’ve been featured in a lot of blogs so far, and I hear a lot about “popularity contests”, but to be honest, I really think the site is proving to be more than that. First of all, it’s definitely not HotOrNot 2.0. I wanted to create a meritocracy, so submitted people are going to be judged on their accomplishments. Of course there are the web celebs like Leo Laporte and Kevin Rose that are bound to be submitted, but I’ve been pleased to see that the A listers don’t dominate the popular list all the time. The way we calculate the recently popular, which is based on votes just from that day, new and interesting submissions have been given a chance to rise to the top.

I’ve seen comparisons of Gleamd to people search engines like Spock, but I think we differ by giving our users something to look at. Spock is great if you know what you’re looking for, but you aren’t just going to Spock and find interesting people you haven’t heard of without doing a lot of digging around. Gleamd solves that problem pretty quickly by letting users put in their two cents.

Comparing to other social media or social networks, I don’t think we’re competing with places like MySpace, Facebook, or VIRB. We’re not trying to replace your favorite social networks at all. We’re trying to give you the opportunity to find interesting people and maybe even make connections you would have never made otherwise. Maybe you’ll find someone cool on Gleamd, find them on VIRB, and go add them. Who knows. So while we have profiles and friends on Gleamd, they are kind of minimal, and definetly not the focus of the site.

So how can I get involved? If you want to join the private beta, stop by Gleamd and leave a message for Matt. Gleamd still in the private-beta stage only because it’s very new, not because Matt wants to exclude anybody. He’s eager for more users who want to participate actively and give the system a good workout, so don’t be shy!

Now what? As soon as you get a user ID, you can start inviting buddies (like-minded fellow users on Gleamd), and you can begin submitting biographical information about what Matt calls “interesting people doing interesting things on the Web.” Go ahead and submit some people who aren’t already well known, such as interesting people you know from other social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku, YouTube…you name it.

You don’t need to be an experienced writer or blogger yourself to participate; it’s perfectly fine to put in a few words of your own about why the person is cool, and link to other sites such as Wikipedia or your subject’s own blog to round out the details. If you enter a website or email address, the Gleamd editor will automatically post it as a link. Then check one or more category boxes that apply to your subject (e.g., Artist, Athlete, Entrepreneur, Vlogger) and submit the bio. If you realize that you’ve made a typo or have forgotten to check a box, not to worry; you can edit your own submissions later.

What keeps Gleamd from being infested with spammers, self-promoters, and other Web 2.0 bad actors? Matt has explained that Gleamd already provides some safeguards:

  • Gleamd has a team of moderators. They don’t intervene to promote or block bios according to their own tastes, but they do weed out the clowns who are spamming fake Viagra or pimping the latest penny-stock scam. Unlike Digg, the moderators at Gleamd are actual, identifiable human beings! You can notify Matt himself or the moderators if you notice somebody abusing the system.
  • Gleamd automatically checks for duplicate submissions.
  • Gleamd users are allowed to make only one submission every thirty minutes. This hampers the unwanted activities of spambots and pay-per-submission promoters.
  • Gleamd discourages users from submitting themselves. In my opinion, this is a good idea, though I have no personal knowledge about how strictly this is enforced.

What would I like to see in the new Gleamd user interface? I’d like to see more robust searching and filtering, perhaps on geographical keys, as well as the ability to see what your buddies have submitted and voted on. That way, when Gleamd scales up to handle a larger user base, each user will have the tools to navigate to the biographical pages that match that user’s interests.

What’s coming next? Gleamd has attracted some investors, so a new user interface is in the offing. There’s also a brand-new Gleamd wiki, where beta test participants can leave comments and suggestions. So if you join the beta test and you think something is missing or needs to be tweaked, go for it!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Thelma Bowlen August 2, 2007 at 12:27 pm

i came! i read! i signed up for gleamd! 😆 now i’m waiting for my invite. 😯

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