A couple weeks ago, just prior to hopping on a bus for a cross-country tour, I fell in love with OneTrueFan.com. Now that some of the initial hype has died down, I thought I’d share how my first week with it went.
You should first know that this thing kind of blew my mind at first.
The canned description is that this is Foursquare for the Internets. In other words, a way to “check in” at just any ol’ website as you surf, thereby communicating where you go and tagging you as a “fan” of frequently visited sites and therefore the, “one true fan” of sites you’ve visited more than anyone else (like Foursquare’s, “mayor”). It also has patches/badges for browsing accomplishments and a point system that builds by visiting and sharing pages through Twitter, Facebook and more. It’s easy to lazily make this the web’s analog to Foursquare. It can be a lot more than that.
Step back from the mechanics, which require a downloaded plug-in for your browser, and you can see that in some ways this turns web analytics a bit on its head – in fact it reverses the magnifying glass, showing you the interesting detail beyond your simple history. It really forces you to take a different look at your browsing culture and personal identification.
As Co-Founder Eric Marcoullier (@bpm140) reflected openly in a Twitter conversation with me:
I pretty much always look at who visited the page before I read the article now. The context is fascinating.
During my first week I really stayed open with my browsing. I installed the One True Fan plug-in on my main browser and allowed auto-check-ins on basically every site I visited (in full disclosure I did hide check-ins on exactly three sites, for client sensitivity reasons). Doing this while on the AGLA Hiring Heroes tour was particularly interesting since my check-ins ricocheted between scheduling which tiny town we’d be in from Dallas to Los Angeles and keeping up with news and work from the world outside the bus.
There’s a stat dashboard I don’t visit very often, but does contain some sample activity:
And here’s the bar that subtly appears at the bottom of websites – it’s small at first but when moused-over shows:
I too found myself checking who else had been there, both from a crowd-sense and a breadcrumb sense. It doesn’t just include anyone with a OneTrueFan.com plug-in, but also anyone sharing these sites on Twitter, Facebook and more (lots more, coming soon, they promise). Yes, there are privacy concerns (that can be easily assuaged with just NOT sharing site visits or un-checking “auto check-in”) but it still makes for an interesting personal if not public experiment.
Consider how this lens, of our internet life, combines with other lenses. How our patterns and likes, our real-world favorites and virtual world favorites begin to make up our personal identity. Consider the generational differences and how OneTrueFan.com data could illuminate our perceptions of demographics… The mind blows.
Business, healthcare & higher education institutions… what if you could actually identify who your biggest fans were?
For more on One True Fan, here’s video of Eric from their Disrupt 2010 presentation:
OneTrueFan.com is in private alpha right now…