Mobile application based community network, Mig33, has introduced a micro-blogging service on the lines of Twitter and Sina Weibo (a Chinese micro-blog), called – Miniblog. The service, presently in open beta, claims to focus on the fun and playful aspect of social networking, and includes features such as levels, badges, labels, virtual gifts, avatars, emoticons, games and other experiences. The miniblog will be integrated with mig33’s third-party games, chat, profiles and avatars, according to the company.
In addition to the new service, Mig33 has also introduced new Android, Blackberry, WAP, and web clients, and intends to offer clients for other platforms, in the near future. The Mig33 service was initially offered on a more narrow J2ME client for feature phones. Mig33 claims to have delivered over 300 billion messages and over 185 million virtual gifts in 2011, and says that it registered 300,000 daily active users.
– Another Twitter clone? : The user interface of Mig33’s Miniblog resembles the old version of Twitter, complete with a shout-box which has a 140 character limit, private messages, @mentions, hashtags and search features. The concept of followers, following and hot topics are also a part of the service. Infact some of the other features have even been named similarly, for example – ‘Discover’, while some have been renamed- retweet becomes ‘reshare’.
– Since the service has been in closed beta for around 30 days, it seems that very few users post actively on the site and hot topics are not as current as they are on other networks and are restricted to quotes, proverbs, jokes and others. The service does link to Mig33’s web based community, however, virtual goods have not been integrated, at the time of writing this post. We do understand that the service is positioned to focus more on the fun and games element, but don’t casual users ( the ones who don’t discuss contemporary, newsy topics or post links) have Facebook or Orkut or even Google+ for doing that?
– Also, users of social networking services in Asian markets such as China prefer to stay anonymous, which is quite different from the scenario that prevails on networks such as Google+, Facebook and Twitter.
– Taking into account just micro-blogging platforms, Twitter also has the advantage of being home to celebrities, including politicians, film actors, journalists, sportsmen among others. So we wonder if the service, which is essentially a Twitter clone starting from scratch, will be able to get traction in the Indian market.
Overall, it looks like the service targets existing Mig33 users, or users who are still not familiar with Twitter. However, just like Rediff’s Zara Bol, it doesn’t offer anything new. We feel that instead of replicating the same model, Mig33 should have innovated to build up a new offering, bringing with it some new features.