Earlier this month, the Q&A-cum-social-networking service Formspring launched its first ever user Directory, with the intent on better highlighting the most popular users within a given category like “Music,” “Sports” or “Fashion.” Today, the company is expanding its focus on connecting users based on interests, and is rolling out an update that will allow users to click on any tag in their own profile to discover all those on Formspring who share that same interest.
After clicking on a tag – like “movies,” for example, or even something as narrow as “half marathons” – a directory of Formspring users appears. From there, you can then follow any of the listed users you choose. The idea is that as you expand your social network on Formspring, this will, in turn, lead to more questions in your inbox. And Q&A, despite all these changes, is still very much the core focus of Formspring’s service.
In some ways, Formspring feels like the more casual, playful competitor to the expert answers resource that is the continually addictive (and a bit nerdy) startup Quora. But Formspring’s top competition comes not from fellow Q&A sites, but from the “Ask” feature on Tumblr, which allows users to accept questions from others and then post answers publicly on their blog. If anything, Formspring is trying to go more of the Tumblr route these days, than it is trying to take on other Q&A services. That is to say, it’s increasingly focused on social and on “social discovery,” another common trend. Q&A is just the means to make those social connections happen.
The company says that this move is also designed to better serve Formspring’s advertising partners who can now better target user communities based on users’ interests…Wait, so all this online socializing is just another way for advertisers to reach me – don’t we already have Facebook for that?
Oh, I kid, Formspring, I kid. (Well, sort of).
The new changes will roll out later tonight on the East Coast, and sometime this afternoon for Pacific Coast users.