Sent to you by nunok via Google Reader:
Although social networking has gotten a lot of bad press lately with the likes of Facebook and Instagram, I will admit, I really like staying connected with people. When used properly, it can be a powerful tool to help you to stay informed and yet give you the opportunity to "meet" amazing people online.
One of the things that I love about social networking is to be able to see what other people are into, what the latest and greatest apps are, and what the cool things are that people are buying. There are some awesome tech toys that I own that I never would have known about if not for hearing about it first on Twitter. Another app that has been very intriguing for this purpose, called Mine, came out a little while ago and it has stuck on my first page ever since. It has been able to tie in social networking features in a different way than the likes of Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram. Will it get as big as those services? Not sure, but we can definitely take a deeper look at it.
When you first sign up for Mine, it asks you for your email address. Don't worry, they are not going to send you endless spam, instead they use it to scan your messages to see what you have purchased. This can take a little while depending on how much you spend online, but they have a nice little cat GIF for you to watch while you wait.
Waiting for Mine to scan purchases (left) Adding purchases to Mine (right)
Once Mine is able to get through all of your purchases, you now choose what items you want to show to others. Keep in mind, the goal is to show off the cool and awesome stuff you bought with others. With the web version, you are able to also write why you are putting the product on Mine but with the iPhone app, I couldn't find a way to do this when I imported my purchases.
Manually adding a purchase and then sharing it with your social networks
You also have the option to manually add your own item to the app by entering the name, brand and store from where you bought it from. Then Mine searches for an image of it that you can use, then you write why you bought the item. Finally, you share it to Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr.
Mine is more than just a way for you to show off the cool products that you purchase, it is also a way for you to connect with others to see what they bought and why. You can search for people that are using the app by typing in their name, or if you have friends that don't use Mine, it can tap into your contacts and you can send them an invite.
Searching for people on Mine (left) Inviting friends from your contacts (right)
When you are following people you can "like" their products and can comment on them as well. Another nice feature is that if they mention the store where they got the item from, you can click on the shopping cart icon and you will be taken to the website to purchase it all within the app.
Clicking the shopping cart icon takes you to the website of the item
After using Mine for the past month or so, I am wrestling with how I feel about it and whether to keep it on my homepage or not. On the one hand, I absolutely love using it because I think it is a neat to not only show others what you like, but to see what others buy and what they like. I have found some great things to purchase as I browse through other people's purchases — things that I probably wouldn't have even known about if it weren't for Mine.
Although that is all well and good, there is one glaring problem that I have been noticing as I use it. There are just not a lot of users that I can relate to and connect with that are using Mine. For example, there are some tech people that are using it, but they are not consistently active, and there are a lot of people outside of the United States that use it, but their purchases usually don't relate to me. This to me is going to be their biggest challenge — to get more users and to get them to consistently engage themselves.
It's not often that I continue to use an app even though it has a few flaws. Mine is one of those apps; it is one that I want to so badly see succeed because I understand its concept and I see how useful it can be for people. I like that they don't make it hard for you to add an item and the overall experience of using it is so simple and intuitive. They don't overwhelm you with too many social features or make it really hard to navigate, it's just a simple UI that is clean and done well.
Mine is free on the App Store and they also have a web app that I did a review for over on Web.AppStorm. It is very similar and many of the same things here can be said about the website as well. If you are looking to share with others the cool things you buy and see what other awesome things are out there to spend your money on, you should check Mine out.