Internet / Tech News · August 17, 2007 1

Thoof: A brand new Web 2.0 powered social media site

Thoof LogoThis might sound like another Digg clone, but trust me when I say it’s far removed from it. While it is a debutante in the whole social media and personalized news services, it’s steadily gaining ground. First and foremost it’s AJAX supercharged as a result of which the whole interface has this really crisp & snazzy appearance. Sign-up is a 3 step process (enter e-mail, click on validation link and then enter your username and password) that happens without requiring you to fill-up any lengthy forms, thus leaving you to enjoy the Thoof experience right away.

The stories (excerpts) keep appearing on a single page – i.e. the landing page of Thoof. Once you’ve finished reading them, you don’t need to click on paginated links that look like: << Previous 1..2..3 Next >>

Thoof interface screenshot

All you do is scroll down the page and new stories keep appearing out of thin air. If you’ve recently used the Live Image Search, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Among the stories displayed are current news, various popular websites and videos – and all of these are based on your own likes & dislikes, which Thoof keeps constantly learning from you. Here’s how…

  • You don’t like a story, no problem. You can always mark it as not interesting or hide and it won’t ever be shown to you again. Not just that – Thoof wont display any similar or related stories to you.
  • You like the story, but you believe you’ve got something to add to it. Go right ahead and do so with the edit link.
  • And if you believe a story hasn’t been categorized properly, you can always add your own relevant tags to it. This makes it possible for others to easily locate the story.

The last feature is something I’ve long sought in Digg, which doesn’t give you much room in way of proper categorisation. It’s either their prefixed categories or none at all. Of course these features (except for hiding) are backed up by active voting from the community and only then the changes are committed.

To measure the success of a story, Thoof employs a scoring system called ThoofRank. According to Thoof…

ThoofRank Screenshot the ThoofRank is a fair measurement of how interesting a story is to readers with interests in common with the story. It is expressed as a percentage relative to other Thoof stories, so a ThoofRank above 50% indicates that a story is of above average interest to those readers. When a story has just been submitted it will start out with a low ThoofRank, but this will increase as more people see it, so please be patient.

Sounds great to me. Thoof claims that their ranking system will give every story a fair and reasonable chance to prove itself as compared to many other social bookmarking websites where it is critical for a story to achieve a significant number of votes in the earliest post-submission stages. This is often misused and abused by net-wise bloggers. Thoof further states that even niche stories can attain a high ThoofRank as the measurement system takes into consideration the vote of confidence expressed by readers who’re interested in related subjects. Thoof’s modus operandi definitely sets it a class apart from the likes of Digg.

Thoof prevents the “angry mob” from determining relevance and controlling the distribution of news. Thoof tries to serve the individual interests of each user, rather than assuming that everyone is interested in the same topics.

They’ve even got a cool screencast that explains all the features and the inner workings of the Thoof system. This one is worth seeing.

From what I’ve read of and experienced about Thoof (first-hand) I can conclude that it’s definitely a tool that even Digg has to contend with. It probably won’t be an exaggeration to refer to it as, Digg on Web 2.0 Steroids.