Miio is a social service that mirrors the old chat rooms of days gone by, where you could find new people to converse with based on some common interest – like my iVillage group formed of moms giving birth to babies in April, 2002. Once connected by this thin similarity, friendships bloomed and died, while drama and camaraderie ruled the day. These chat rooms presented a vastly different experience than today’s Facebook, where users usually cement prior real life connections with subsequent “friending” on line or Twitter, where there is little to no connection between follows and followers.
Miio appears to be a cross between the old-school chat room concept (you are suggested friends based on your stated interests and NOT your connections in other social networks) and modern social network design – with status boxes, media uploads, filtering, search by interest or location, and groups. Unlike Twitter, you get up to 2,000 characters of text to play with. It just recently underwent a fairly substantial redesign and the new layout is slick and makes sense, for the most part.
I joined Miio last night, curious about the buzz I had been hearing. Studio readers know that I am more than willing to hop on a new social networking bandwagon, recently joining other fringe services Cliqset, Pip.io, and Amplify. I am still an active Friendfeed user, and visit the big social sites regularly. Once I joined, selected a group of people to follow based solely on the interests listed in my profile and posted my “Hello World” message, I was immediately inundated with welcomes, offers of help with the site, follow notifications and even a group invitation. In viewing the public timeline, I was struck with the readiness of Miio’s residents to bring new people into the conversation, as well as the conversational tone on the site – a tone familiar to me from my iVillage days. Without a doubt, Miio was the nicest first-time user experience I have ever had.
With so many places to hang out these days, it is hard for a new site to distinguish itself. While Miio certainly has room to grow, I think it has done an excellent job of building a framework for conversation among web-dwellers that feels different from most other sites. I look forward to exploring Miio and, hopefully, watching it grow.
UPDATE: I wanted to share this video demo of Miio to give readers more of the nuts and bolts of the site. While Miio has recently gone through some changes, this will definitely provide a decent overview of how things work. Hope to see you over there, I’m at http://miio.com/marthasperry#description