Unthink.com – What were they (un)Thinking?

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supernovamedia.comYesterday I became an “Unthinker”. After nearly four years in secret development, feisty Unthink.com is the newest social network on the block. Their goal is to kick Facebook and Google+ out of the social media realm. Unthink promises to be the start of a social revolution, but hardly delivers.

Their anti-Facebook videos say  “It’s FUtime” Check out the YouTube video

The key difference is about data and security. You have full control over how much you show various groups of people. Unthink have made all the default options restricted, so you need to ‘enable’ your data to be shared.  Unthink has given your URL a “Deed” agreement stating that this is your property and they will not interfere, force changes to your setup, spy on you or collect data to sell to advertisers about you. You will be allowed to use a Pseudonym name on Unthink. There will be an identifier to let others know you are not using your real name but your confidentiality is protected.

You must create four separate profiles:

  • Basic – The fields here remind me of those on a dating site. Very personal, but never shown.
  • Social – For your family and friends
  • Professional – To be sure to present yourself appropriately to your work connections
  • Lifestyle – How you connect with brands

You can post status updates for each individual profile, and only followers of that specific profile ie-professional can see it in their stream. Very similar to creating friends lists on Facebook and targeting your updates to those lists – but more cumbersome.

Unthink  has a long way to go to become a Facebook killer. A friend called it a “grown up version of MySpace and equally as slow”.

Start-up pains are to be expected and Unthink had  database issues from the get-go: after I (finally) received my invitation with the activation code I got a password error message. I requested my password to be sent via email, it never arrived. Other friends had the same issue.

But the biggest problem – it is overly complicated without an intuitive interface. This is a very big deal and will deter most users. It is not user friendly, with many (too many) tabs and navigating. It took several minutes to find the invite tab. This is not a site for an inexperienced user. The help menu only reveals two promotional videos, no help at all. I like the idea of Unthink, but what I don’t like is how much I have to THINK about how to use their platform.

Top right hand corner (prime real estate) goes to the Brand that you choose to endorse you. Should you not choose to have a brand endorse you, users must pay $2 annually. #fail Social networkers will not pay for services they are already getting for free.

When I asked Carole Nickerson (a Facebook friend) what she thought of Unthink she said, “It’s not usable by today’s standards. They are trying to repackage the delivery of content and interaction with a structure that is now obsolete. We process data online much faster than we did 10 years ago. Heavy graphical design does not promote interaction. This looks like a generic cms script basically just tweaked a little.” And “I don’t even dare invite my Facebook friends. Way too much”.

The Lifestyle tree is an interesting idea. Designed to organize the brands you’re interested in. By adding a company’s leaf to your virtual tree, you choose the information that interest you, and the frequency per channel. It is completely anonymous. Some brands offer rewards for every message you read..

Unthink has two main types of pages, Suite and Stage. Suite is for Personal pages and Stage is for Businesses.

Although I’m not jumping up and down (like I was with Google+) at the user experience, I am looking forward to the business experience on Unthink.  Stage Pages seem well thought out.  Imagine a Business page that acts like a Fan page but where you can offer (all on one page) discounts, coupons, rewards, job listings, B2B communications events.

Expect mobile apps in a few months.

While there is definitely demand for more privacy and control within social networking sites, and the concept of owning your virtual space online instead of just building your presence to make someone else’s “digital property” more powerful, the start-up has a long road ahead.

Check out our Guide to Unthink on Slideshare.

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About Nancy Bain

Our services include building optimized, functional and self managed WordPress websites, Nova Scotia social media training and consulting, interactive full screen high definition virtual tours with lead capture and print advertising. For most of our clients, we are their one stop solution for all things marketing, branding and small business development related.

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