The last couple of years have been really tough for Yahoo. It’s not that they aren’t trying. But they simply don’t have much to show for their efforts. Yahoo has been attempting to make inroads into the social web, but the results have only been disastrous. Yahoo 360, Mash and SpotM all ended up being big duds and had to be shut down. One of the problems is that they always appear to be playing catch-up. Yahoo has been busy merely reacting to the latest trends instead of aggressively launching innovative products to catch public imagination. Yahoo Meme is another perfect example.
Yahoo Meme is popularly dubbed as Yahoo’s Twitter Clone. However, in reality it is more of a cross between Tumblr and Twitter. The basic concept is same. You can follow other people and their activity will appear in your streams. In a similar manner people who find your meme interesting can follow you. However, there are a few important differences. For one, there is no 140 character limit. Unlike twitter, you are not restricted to text. Yahoo Meme supports sharing of video, audio and image files. However, you cannot upload a video or an audio file. For audio files you need to paste the link to the MP3 file whereas for video you need to paste the Vimeo or YouTube video URL.
The first thing that caught my attention in Yahoo Meme was the repost feature. Reposting is the twitter equivalent of retweeting. Most twitter users (including me) have been demanding a retweet button for a long time. When you report an item you can also comment on it and add your own opinion. You can also comment on an item without reposting it. Another nice touch added by Yahoo is that clicking on the down arrow besides every comment (which is not a repost) loads the original post inline, thus giving your follower a better idea about the context of your comment.
I couldn’t find a way to automatically add existing users from my address book or invite them to Yahoo Meme. This is definitely something Yahoo should think about including in the future if they want Meme to survive. For now you can invite users manually by typing their email address. Yahoo Meme has a list of interesting memes as well as list of most popular posts (i.e. the posts with highest repost count) which seems to suggest that Yahoo Meme has become somewhat popular in China.
Yahoo Meme is currently in closed alpha. There is nothing bad about the product. At the something there isn’t anything exciting about it. Yahoo is going to have a hard convincing people to migrate from Tumblr, Posterous and Twitter. And a social network without enough users is a dead social network. Yahoo Meme currently doesn’t have an API. Hopefully, it will come soon and there would be enough exciting apps based on Yahoo Meme. Because otherwise this may meet the same fate as Yahoo’s other social networking ventures.
I have a few invites for Yahoo Meme. If you want one just let me know in the comments section. I will distribute them on a first come, first serve basis. If you already have an account you can follow me at meme.yahoo.com/pallab (although for now I will continue to actively use Twitter).
(thanks to Rahul for the invite)