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Nooks and Crannies: Let the Mashing begin!

Okay, here’s a few things I like about Mash, Yahoo’s new social toy, which rolled out in an invite only beta today. Disclaimer: I work for Yahoo! (but not for the Mash team — I work at Yahoo! Music). I did make a bunch of modules for Mash, just for fun, ’cause I’m a nerd.

I should start by pointing out that it’s much easier to be jaded and repeat phrases like YASN (yet another social network) or DTINASN (does the internet need another social network?), than it is to look with fresh eyes. My own take on this is that the Internet is gradually becoming one large social network, and I don’t really care that much where I’m doing the socializing (and this very blog is one of those locations, as is Flickr, as is Facebook…). In my opinion, any large centralized social network is doomed to suffer from urban blight, and be replaced by another nouveau shrangri-las (and another, and another…), because of a basic need we all have for individuating our personal space. In short, the Internet requires (and has) lots of “nooks and crannies” to hold the various cultures and cliques that reside within it, and it always will, just as the real world does. I enjoy playing with Mash, not because it is the perfect social network (it’s actually pretty raw), but because I have friends on it, I like its sense of fun, and I can help make it more fun. In the end, that’s all I care about.

So here are some fun things about Mash:

1) You can make profiles for your friends (and trick them out) before they join. When they first show up, they’ll see a personalized profile, instead of plain vanilla wonderbread. Sorry, but I hate wonderbread! (I’m more of an english muffin guym didn’t you notice?)

2) Like a moshmash pit, it’s a lot of fun invading your friend’s space (and they can have fun invading yours). You can change the styling on your friends profiles, or add modules. You can do really sophomoric things like give your friends a bright purple page with bright red text and a giant picture of Mr. Rogers, and they can return the favor by changing your background to Unicorns and Fairies. If you don’t like this kind of thing, you can turn it off (to varying degrees). This is the kind of feature that tends to fill the hearts of the privanoids with dread, but personally I love this feature, and prefer to leave it on. If you are my friend, I will Mash your profile up! You have been warned!

3) It’s fun to develop for it. This part of Mash isn’t open to the public yet, but I’ve been enjoying it for a few weeks, mostly in my spare time, porting a handful of the software toys from this site, as well as constructing some new things. One of the more popular new Mash modules I made is called “Ego Boost”. It generates random compliments, like “Jim thinks that David is Awesome!” and put’s ’em on the public wire, and generally gives everyone a swelled head. I’m also working on a toy so you can draw mustaches on your friends.

If you’d like to check Mash out, and you know me (or I am distantly acquainted with you), drop me a line. I’ll hook you up.

Update: The Saul Hansell at the New York Times Bits Blog mentioned mash this morning, and talked about two of my modules, saying “some of the first [mash modules] are rather fun. There is a little game where you can play paddle ball with an image of Karl Marx. And the “Wheel of Lunch” is a nice use of Yahoo’s local database: type in your ZIP code and the type of food you want, and it will display a sort of Wheel of Fortune with spaces for local restaurants.”

2 Responses to “Nooks and Crannies: Let the Mashing begin!”

  1. sanjit_rath Says:

    wow good to know you are working for Yahoo. i sent you a few emails in year 2000 -2001 and got very good replies. Then I was using your Synthesis program. It was really interesting.

    I have tried Yahoo Mash, it is not that interesting to modify and change the page settings here and there. I am not very impressed with mash, the way it works.

  2. linkinparkandliv Says:

    I’m not very impressed too. What I need is something more interactive with my friends, not only what you say.