Socialect is proof once again that building a quality product is no guarantee of overnight success in an over abundant web world. The site provides local geo-tagged information on events, places, classes and groups all wrapped up in a stunningly designed social calendar and wiki metaphor. It’s a superb example of how to craft something valuable without ramming technology down your user’s throats.
The first thing you do is define your location via the Google map on the front page, and then you can search for or add information on events, places etc as you wish. The interface is typically Ruby on Rails lush, with simple navigation, crystal clear content delivery and a feature set which is beautifully implemented. Once you’ve signed up, editing and adding to the wiki is a two button step.
The really clever stuff is the ability to download all the wiki information on places, events et al to your mobile phone or GPS device for onward navigation. Do a search, say for beaches around San Diego, then click the Send to Nokia button to download an lmx file you can transfer as a landmark to your phone. This feature also shines when it comes to following people’s travels, so you can literally trace someone’s footsteps across the world.
This is a stunning product, beautifully designed, full featured and with enough value for any amount of day to day use. What it lacks right now is data. There is a small and presumably growing body of content and a small but happy user base, but it’s such a shame that a service of this high quality looks to be languishing in the web equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle.
Anyone can post and anyone can delete posts and comments on socialect wiki style. The idea is to create a constantly evolving social calendar free of spam since it is easier to delete or undo changes than to post. The goal is to create a rich data source that anyone can access anywhere in the world to find out what’s going on around them that they care about at anytime. People often complain that technology and media makes us socially isolated from each other. Socialect aims to do the opposite – to bring people with common interests together no matter where they are in the world.