Duff O'Melia

Some Pleasant Surprises

Now that some friends have been writing reviews on Soapbox, I’ve recognized a few unexpected things.

The site doesn’t have to be an enormous hit in order to provide a ton of value to the people in “my” network. So even if it doesn’t have 4,000,000 reviews out there, I can still benefit if “my network” is relatively filled out and a number of friends start writing reviews. I have learned a ton of things from the reviews that have been posted so far and it’s only been 2 days. I thought I knew my brother Russ pretty well. He’s posted a ton of reviews of things I never realized he’s used. They’ve prompted many conversations between us and I think we’ve learned more about each other through Soapbox. I’m not sure whether other networks of people will use Soapbox enough to experience this benefit.

I have found that there’s value in having my opinions of things in digital form. I’ve found myself emailing the links of reviews to people. For example, many have been asking about the designer of Soapbox. Rather than me crafting an email about Richard Powell, I can just point them to my review of his work. Someone asked about how I’m liking the switch to using a Mac. I just point them to the review. It seems quite efficient.

Russ has made me realize that we have used thousands of products and services. There are countless things to review.

My mom has recently made me realize that we naturally exchange reviews all the time with friends and loved ones. We’re constantly comparing notes, sharing experiences, and learning from each other. Soapbox enables this communication to happen very efficiently with a ton of people.

Soapbox could start to connect friends of friends in real life because of the reviews that were written online. That would be pretty excellent. We’ve already had a case hinting at this when my wife Kelly went to a playgroup with a few other moms with their kids. One of the moms there was talking about Jen’s Tilapia Review! This mom has never met Jen and has never tried Tilapia. But if and when they do meet, they’ll have some context for conversation. It’s just exciting to me that a digital process on the web hasn’t replaced human interaction. It seems to have encouraged it and fostered it.