As you all know, I have been spending a lot of time on various social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. While I do not consider myself any sort of Web 2.0 expert, like every other person on Twitter writes in their bio, I do think I am becoming somewhat of an addict. A vast majority of the information I absorb from the Web, whether it be technology related, or just general news, comes from sites like Digg, Reddit, TechCrunch or Twitter. Now, being the relatively young blogger that I am, I am generally not exposed to startups first hand, I just read about the newest trends on sites like TechCrunch or Blonde 2.0. This week, thanks to Itamar, I was fortunate enough to take part in a very exciting event for the first time, Mobile Monday. There were tens of very interesting mobile geeks present, but there was one that really stood out in the crowd. I met an individual who has started a Web 2.0 startup, which enables social interaction on the Web via interesting stories and news. The site is called HYPick (I think it is from a combination of two words "Hype" and "Topic", I am liking it). You can post links, videos, pictures, or just thoughts on the site, and based on popularity, it makes it to the front page and thereby gets greater exposure.
OK, I know what you are thinking, I thought it too, and so did Oren, the founder. Isn't that exactly what Digg is? The answer is, that Oren has an angle here, which makes HYPick much more pure social interaction than Digg will ever be. Here's the thing with Digg, as much as I love the site, and its founder, Kevin Rose (especially his podcast, Diggnation), every post I write here, gets uploaded to Digg, and take a guess if I ever made it to the front page. I have not. The reason is, because I do not know enough people on Digg to digg my story. I cannot ask my 10,000 friends on Digg to vote for me, because I am not Kevin Rose, Michael Arrington, or some other Web icon (not yet anyway). So, in reality, Digg has gone from a true social media site to a plain and simple popularity contest.
Not only is it not really effective for someone who wants to find a story that really interested the largest number of people, it is also not effective for someone who has a great story and wants exposure, because if you do not have thousands of friends on Digg, chances are you will not make the front page. Now, I know this sounds like I am coming down on Digg, so let me make myself clear, I love Digg. I read it in the morning before I brush my teeth, and totally depend on it for the day's entertainment. I could not live without Digg (OK, maybe that is a slight exaggeration), but the truth is that stories get Dugg based on popularity, not only true interest. So then how is HYPick different? Well, here is where Oren's innovative genius comes into play. There is no upvote or Digg button to be found. The popularity of the story is determined by the amount of participation in the comments. After all, if it is a truly attractive post, people must have an opinion about it. The more comments it gets, the closer it gets to the front page. The site has a really simple and user friendly feel to it, and is very intuitive and fun to use. I am liking HYPick, in fact, I already posted my first story there, and accomplished what I have not accomplished in the 2 years I have been using Digg, I made it to the front page.
In addition to the brilliance behind the idea and concept of HYPick, Oren is also a very sweet, down to earth kinda guy, and I would love to see him succeed. I think what might set him apart from the rest, is his true passion to make the Web into a real social media tool, and to give some justification to the overly used term, Web 2.0.