First thoughts on Gravity.com

So I’ve been exploring new social platform Gravity – set up by three ex-My Space executives – which mashes up forums and groups with elements of Google Wave and Twitter…and it’s pretty good. Now in public beta, it’s got potential to add real value to online collaboration and crowdsourced knowledge – and also be a little addictive.
As you do more in the site and ‘orbit’ more ‘worlds’ you get awarded little badges, like a boy scout (see images), but not in an annoying Foursquare way; just gentle encouragement to keep engaging with the growing communities. ‘Worlds’ (i.e. souped-up discussion rooms) are created at request by the developers at the moment, and there a few people who have asked if a ‘non-profit world’ / community can be set up. At the moment there is only ‘Philanthropy’ – which some users have already noticed isn’t quite the space to start discussions on the ‘business’ or marketing and comms of third sector work.
There are some nice little touches within Gravity to keep on top of all of your interactions within the platform, such as;
1. tabs for ‘follow ups’ to your conversations and ‘nudges’ (i.e. @replies using your username).
2. reward ‘badges’ for sharing and engaging.
3. the ability to ‘follow’ (or in Gravity language, ‘orbit’) specific users, as well as conversations and worlds. So – a bit like Twitter or Google Buzz – you can click to see a stream of all the interactions and comments of people you orbit – and build on relationships and shared interests.
4. the ability to add files such as images, video and url links into the flow of discussion – this is the Google Wave element. Really like this.
It’s all nicey nicey right now – not really any trolls or trouble makers, but this will inevitably happen. The Gravity team realises this and write an intro asking users to stay polite because there *will* be ‘disagreements’.
Sure, there are a few bugs to get ironed out – and it’s possible to ‘cheat’ and get awarded interaction badges for ‘liking’ and commenting on your own stuff ; but I’m quite excited by the potential and feel of Gravity so far.
I’ve even managed to secure a fundraiser on the social platform – who is running two half-marathons for Whizz-Kidz, and has begun following us on Twitter. Third Sector magazine‘s Helen Barrett has written a good blog post about the potential for charities.

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