In what we’re sure will amount to a social media orgy, noted author, comedian and British cultural icon Stephen Fry is announcing the formal launch of Pushnote on Twitter at 2pm today. Fry, who became an investor in the UK startup in June of last year, has over 2 million followers on the microblogging service.
(Update: Still no tweet as promised by the PR company for Pushnote. Make of that what you will.)
(Update 2: Nearly four hours on, we have a tweet!)
Pushnote, which was soft-launched the same month (see TCEU coverage), consists of a browser add-on that enables users to leave comments on any site they visit. It’s not dissimilar in concept to Google Sidewiki, for example, and many others that have tried and failed, although Pushnote is intended to have greater consumer appeal.
Example use-cases given include leaving a note saying that “this site is a scam” or “there are better deals elsewhere”, and so on. Or commenting on a news story or resource with a link to a more accurate or updated article. And there’s certainly an argument that comments should be implemented at the browser level rather than per-site but the fact that it requires a browser add-on and there’s no industry standard for such a model has so far held the idea back.
To make matters worse, when Pushnote was first unveiled last year it was woefully lacking in execution. Comments weren’t threaded and social features were at a bare bones minimum. You couldn’t even upload an avatar. Much of this, however, has now been fixed. The UI is a lot more appealing, you can ‘follow’ other users Twitter-style – could that be Fry’s influence? – and comments are indeed threaded. Pushnote has also retained the simple idea of a green light in the browser address bar signaling existing Pushnotes left on the site. Visitors can also vote up notes and there’s a realtime element to discussions too.
There’s another aspect to a service like Pushnote, which is that comments left about a site or its content can’t be censored by the site owner since they are site agnostic. That’s potentially disruptive, if the service take off – and it’s a very big if – and is something that brands won’t be too keen on. Social media monitoring services on the other hand will be licking their lips.