A Hive of Style

After playing around with wishlist aggregators like MetaWishList, Wists and GiftTagging, I came across StyleHive which has some creativity, ambition and promise that the others lack. Beyond simply categorizing your shopping cravings, StyleHive does the whole social networking thang and promises "social bookmarking for the product and shopping obsessed." Prompted by a nice welcome message from StyleHive's extremely cute blogger Sabrina Yeung, I've decided to share my top five thoughts on how StyleHive can become truly stylish.

1. Differentiate links in postings.
Bookmarks are currently a mishmash of links to products from online stores, manufacturers, or other blogs writing about the product. There should be some guidance to differentiate these types of links. For a product, I'd ideally like to see all three kinds of links in a posting. For instance, if the product is a cool pair of shades reviewed by GQ, I'd also want to have the link to the online store that sells them, and the brand.

2. Non-product-specific links
While we're on the subject of the bookmark mishmash, there should be ways to encourage bookmarks that aren't about specific products, but might be related to 'style' or 'fashion' generally. The tagging system should enable networking links between such general articles (say on how to do a bathroom reno) and the products that relate to them. I suppose this is already possible in the current system, but I'm just missing a way to make it evident.

3. Where's the Social Networking?
Ok, I see people and I see stuff, but then what? Maybe I'm not getting it, but how am I supposed to make the social connections that makes this a social networking site? For example, I'm viewing Sabrina's 'hive' page and there's no button to add her as a friend. What if I want to keep track of what she is bookmarking and recommending? How do I build my hive of not just stuff but of people?

4. Where's the Social Networking (part deux)?
When I go to StyleHive, I expect to see stuff that I'd be interested in, based on the kinds of stuff that I've been tagging. Isn't this the point of a site like this? My main recommendation would be to follow the model of Last.fm. If 80% of what I'm listening to tagging is the same as someone else, chances are I'll like the other 20%. I should be getting recommendations based on my current stuff from other users, not seeing an unfiltered stream of latest or popular tags.

5. Where is the Style?
For a site with style in its name, there's an awful lot of chintzy crap that I'd rather not be visually assaulted with. If the StyleHive's creators don't do something to focus their 'brand image,' they'll be overrun by whatever tastleless self-promoters spam the most. Ideas could include some strategic co-marketing with key brands and merchants, or tie-ins with style trendsetters like GQ or Vogue (and others in interior design, gadgets, etc). There needs to be some focus here.

6. Import Function
This one is pretty straightforward. I've already collected a bunch of tagged bookmarks to cool stuff on Del.icio.us and the aforementioned MetaWishList. Why should I have to re-enter them all again from scratch on StyleHive? I realize that a common standard for social bookmarks hasn't emerged yet, but many other sites at least support importing from del.icio.us, and if StyleHive wants to capture users from other 'wishlist' sites, they should probably develop tools to migrate data from those other systems.

Posted on July 7, 2006 and filed under Blogging, Style.