Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Buggy Backward Bebo

All of my social networking in one place? Yes please! Having to deal with AOL to do it? No thank you.

From my experience with Real Simple a few posts back, I learned that women sure are into organizing. Even I occasionally get the bug, so when I recently read that AOL had launched their Lifestream information aggregation tool by way of their Bebo social networking site, I was definitely intrigued. In a nutshell, this service takes all your updates, pictures, emails, etc. from sites like Flickr, Facebook, Gmail, AIM, and Twitter and (in theory) lets you view them all on one handy-dandy dashboard. Cool idea - if it actually works.

I created my Bebo account using my old, clunky, no longer in use AIM handle and found (surprise, surprise) that none of my old AIM contacts were using Bebo. I would have to import contacts from other avenues like my Gmail address book. I wasn't about to drag others into this thing before I knew what I was dealing with.

After an oversimplified sign-in to add my major social networks, I found that the only feed I was seeing within my Lifestream, sad little existence that it was, were my tweets. Aggregator indeed. Facebook was completely MIA. I even tried updating my status there to see if anything showed up, but that didn't work. Now of course, something probably went wrong with my initial sign-up, but an exaustive, time-consuming search of the site left me with no idea how I could fix it.

At any rate, this is what it is supposed to look like:

So I was left with a fairly empty profile page needing to be built from scratch. There were all kinds of tools and apps available to build that page, but why should I be reinventing the wheel when I already have other social networks that fill my needs? I think my biggest reluctance to embrace Bebo is from my perception of AOL. I left AOL years and years ago, never looking back. They would have to do something major to win me over, and sadly for them, this isn't it.