Wallop – More Than Your Average ‘Sneak Peek’

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I was able to get an invite to join the private beta of Microsoft’s social networking site Wallop, which describes itself as ‘the exclusive place where you connect with your real friends and expand your relationships’. Here’s my report.
The site’s exclusivity isn’t because the site is in a testing phase, rather exclusivity is one if their selling points. The first thing I noted about Wallop is that its not just another social networking site that haphazardly integrates features just for the sake of augmenting the feature set. All the features that I explored were highly usable and well-executed. Once you log in, the site gives you the option of taking 10 minutes and allowing it to walk you through the process of setting up your account and a brief overview of some of the site’s main features.
Once you have created your profile and uploaded a photograph, you can being adding friends.
Because I got my invite from Pete Cashmore, and so did a few others, all of us were automatically added to each other’s friends lists, and Wallop encouraged me to leave a comment to my friends to let them know that I have joined their network and start interacting with them.
Wallop does a great job of friends management. Finding people to connect with and adding them to your network is incredibly easy. Your friends and potential friends are displayed in the ‘Friends’ section, divided by a line. You can add or remove friends by simply dragging them across the line, or you can search for people by their names, email addresses, or Wallop user-names.
Next, you can begin customizing the interface of the site by applying themes. A plethora of themes are already available, but you can even make your own modifications (more on that later).
Now that you’re done with the initial setup, let’s take a look into specific features of the site.
Profile View
If you look at the picture below you can see a quick view of all Wallop’s important features. The blue side-bar lists all the different aspects of your profile and clicking on ‘Profile’ from this list brings up bubble-like containers for all these features, giving you a visual into what activity you have done in each section and giving you one-click access.
Alternate Friends View
We discussed the primary friends view and explained the process of adding and subtracting contacts above. The alternate friends view in the profile section gives you a quick look at your top 10 friends, which are displayed in bubbles circling your picture.
Comments View
Clicking on comments takes you to a list of all the comments you have made and who they were directed towards.
Pictures View
Pictures view doesn’t only show you all the pictures you have uploaded but it also lets you choose your background image and create a picture slide show from all of your pictures.
Music View
The music view allows you to upload music which you can then presumably share with your friends.
Mods View
The Mod Shop is one of the most intriguing aspects of Wallop. All users can create and upload their profile modifications to the site and other people can test them, comment on them, and best of all if someone likes your mods they can purchase them from you.
Blog View
Wallop has an blogging capabilities built into the site that will be more than sufficient for the average user. You can use text, images, audio, video, and insert mods within blog posts.
The last feature, which I found to be quite useful is ‘Buzz’. If you click on ‘Buzz’, it slides open a window, giving you a snapshot of all the different kinds of activity that is taking place within your social network.
My Stuff
‘My Stuff’ is a companion to ‘Buzz’ but tracks all of your activity on the site. You can see what pictures, music, mods, and blog posts you have uploaded to the site.
On the whole, while Wallop doesn’t bring anything new to social networking – and while all these features have been implemented on other social networking sites in some form on another – where the site excels, apart from its incredibly (can’t stress this enough) beautiful and intuitive interface, is that Wallops brings all these features together to make a highly cohesive and functional whole.

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  • Arpit Jacob

    Wow Totally awesome I had a wallop account when they had launched initially never liked it so never used it much. Looks like they changed a lot of stuff it looks amazing.

  • Pete W

    Looks very very cool. Think it’ll be a contender to the MySpace throne, or are we looking at something that can co-exist with it?

  • Robert Franklin

    In my humble opinion the next big thing in Social Networking won’t be determined by features alone but more based on Mission and Vision of what the Social Networking site is about. Substance vs. Features. Though Wallop looks way cool and I can’t wait to try it out, what will make it sticky if it differentiates itself beyond features.

  • jason

    The site looks very fresh compared to the other SNs out there. It actually looks like a “Network” whereas the MySpace, PHPfox, and Squidoos look more like my community bulletin board at the local supermarket. If they look this good in beta, I hope they can keep the UI when they really launch. Do you have any more invites? I’d really be interested to take a look inside.

  • Geordie

    That interface is beautiful! It reminds me of Apple’s dashboard widgets. I think this is going to be huge. The only thing that might work against them is that it’s a Microsoft product, and the counter-culture crowds might view it as too conformist to use anything Microsoft by choice….aka Zune. I’d be curious to try it out, but it looks like you need friends for that….:)

  • Jason

    Wow, I am still kinda amazing this UI work is coming out from Microsoft. Is the front-end running on a flash element?

  • kev

    Does anyone have an invite for me? I have been searching for an invite. I have a gmail invite as a trade 🙂 hhaha (but seriously! 🙂

  • EVA

    would u plz send me a wallop invite? thxs very much! ^_^