7.am – a mobile social network
7.am, a locally developed mobile social network was launched quietly. Having chatted with the developers this past week i found out the site has already signed up about 50,000 users in a short space of time.
What is 7.am?
Currently the website does not allow you to sign-up online, you have to signup via your mobile phone. The site lets you post ‘status updates’ which can be automatically posted to both Facebook and Twitter, in addition you can also perform check-in’s from different locations.
The check-in’s are manual since the site is web-based, the advantage of this means that even phones without a GPS can use the location based features. The disadvantage is, it becomes cumbersome to keep searching for locations to check-in. In addition to this, 7.am has a bunch of other features like chat, a diary, virtual currency called “smart bucks”, groups and the ability to backup/sync your contacts to the site.
The missed opportunity
When viewing the menu, you are faced with a huge number of menu options, i counted 21 different features and options. More features and options are not always better, especially on a mobile device.
Also some of the features could be removed entirely, for example the ‘diary’ feature. This is in effect almost exactly like posting a status update, with the difference being that you can add a title. Why even have this feature?
While it’s interesting that the location features can be used without a GPS on most WAP enabled devices, there does not seem to be any motivation to encourage check-in’s. We see companies like Gowalla and Foursquare encouraging check-in’s by making it a game.
While it’s at a very early stage, the service could work with the removal of unnecessary features and some refinement.