Social Media: AOL Almost Hits a Homerun with Lifestream

January 24, 2010

lifestreamAOL hasn’t made any major buzz since making their services free to everyone. The fact is, they seemed to flounder after that move. As the SocialMediaSphere evolved at lightning pace, and Google bent over backward trying to develop apps that people would like and use, AOL fumbled the ball with trying to make themselves more like MySpace. The aborted attempt was hindered by the slow pace of development of their social pages, the limited features, and the difficulty in setting up a decent looking page. If they hadn’t such a hold on the email traffic of the world, their company might have died a slow death.

For a while AOL stuck with what they knew, email services. While they did this they developed firm advertising support wrapped around some pretty good news services. Now AOL is stepping out into the SocialMediaSphere again with a new app, Life Stream and it looks like they made it to third base with this one.

Integrated into their chat app, AIM, Lifestream allows you to consolidate many of the popular social media feeds, like Facebook and Twitter in one rolling real time feed. You can also share photos, YouTube videos and Del-icio-us bookmarks. Not only can you read your feeds gathered into one place, you can post to all of them at the same time and comment on your friends’ posts. Since it is combined with AIM, you can switch back and forth from private to public and conversations in the same place.

Where AOL runs short of a home run is the lack of an easy interface like a button to gather new buddies into your AIM account for private chats. While you can import your email contacts into your buddy lists, you can’t do the same for your Facebook Friends or Twitter followers. Nor do they offer a way to invite people to do so. Without an easy incentive to invite people to reach across the social media streams people just won’t, leaving AOL all dressed up and nowhere to go. Sounds like someone needs to get cracking on creating a code that would create a button that sends an email to your AOL account. Are you listening AOL?

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