Formspring Launching A “Favorites” Directory, Starts Looking Like A Real Social Network

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Formspring is launching its first user Directory later today in an effort to better highlight the more popular and famous users of its online social Q&A service. The directory will organize users into categories like Music, Comedy, Sports & Fitness, Fashion & Beauty, Movies & TV, Tech & Start-ups and more.

Current Formspring users will be able to locate the new feature through the “find more friends” section on Formspring when it goes live today, but you can see some of the celebrity users’ pages now, assuming you know their Formspring username. For example, there’s actor Taylor Lautner, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the bands Incubus, We The Kings, and SOH!3, Marvel Creative Director Tom Brevoort, and pop star Camryn.

At launch, the directory will feature over 100 popular users and more will be added in the weeks ahead. It will also be accessible directly via the URL formspring.me/favorites.

The new feature is meant to compliment the previously launched “Formspring Interests” initiative, which allows users to add up to six interests to their profiles like Music, Sports, Fashion & Beauty, etc. Those “interests” are now mirrored by the categories found within the new Formspring Favorites directory.

The bigger picture here is that Formspring isn’t just launching a directory, it’s taking yet another step on its way to becoming a full-fledged social network. You can see the way the company is carefully and thoughtfully building out links between its users, not only between these new interests and categories, but also through the profile page features “who made you smile” and “who you responded to.”

Formspring’s potential for disruption is that it’s not trying to build another Facebook (cough, Google+, cough), it’s trying to build a network around users’ interests. Of course, do to so, it still has to go up against Facebook’s own interest graph, based on the cumulation of millions of “likes. However, it has one slight advantage: when a Facebook brand page inserts its messaging into your social news feed, it can feel intrusive and annoying. Yet when you venture out to a destination site meant to connect you to brands, celebs, and media personalities, you both expect and desire the same sorts of interactions that may have felt “icky” or bothersome on Facebook. That could be a potential win for Formspring.

Formspring now has 27 million users and sees more than 30 million unique visitors per month. With this new direct access to celeb accounts, it wouldn’t be surprising to see that traffic increase quite a bit in the near future.