Pownce has been out for barely two days, the new car smell hasn't faded and we're still finding pieces of bubble wrap everywhere, but people have been begging for invites (myself included and I finally got one, thanks again Robert) all day. So Pownce is hot, so what? I think Ross Mayfield has the answer for us here:
At first glance, Kevin Rose of Digg's new startup Pownce is Yet Another Status Message Service (YASMS) like Twitter, Jaiku or Plazes. But really, its a collaboration app made for the most modern web. It's bound for adoption because the founders can drive word of mouth and its inherent virality. And perhaps what it does is less important than the three trends it represents.
Like others, the primary activity is messaging to your social network. You message to all your friends or public like others, or directly like typing “D Username” in Twitter at the beginning of a message, but also lets you select a subset of friends. Beyond messages, you can share links, files and events. Beyond doing this on the web, there is a Windows or Mac rich client.
The digerati and diggerati will probably rant away about how it doesn't have SMS or IM integration like Twitter, how the content is mundane (same thing with blogging five years ago), how it needs APIs and microformats (which it does, and hooks into Twitter, del.icio.us, Flickr, Upcoming and Facebook are inevitable), or just complain about adding friends again (Adding friends is the new zen). The design is slick on both the web and client and they will polish up key details like last names, comment threading like Jaiku, permalinks and need a more public space to explore.
What does it matter how one comes by the truth so long as one pounces upon it and lives by it? — Henry Miller
Consumer Collaboration Get Hip — Anyone who follows the enterprise collaboration space will immediately see parallels with P2P collaboration apps like Groove or Shinkuro. Or IM, Skype and more directly enterprise IM like MindAlign. The key difference is group forming by social network and default modes of sharing more publicly. Pownce will appeal to a very different demographic, that's already collaborating on blogs, wikis and IM, and potentially full a space in between.
There are several vectors in which Pownce could go, or others could go towards including presence, location, public IM, security, indexing and integration. Pownce will have to open up invites soon (I'm out, please don't ask) to build its network effect before others encroach. It isn't unique enough to gain the continuous or at least partial attention of users for yet another client. Infrastructure costs will be greater than P2P. At the risk of breaking the design and making it too complex, Pownce should give serious thought to the role of standards and how they could be a client for Facebook. Source: Pownce: Collaboration from and at the hip (Ross Mayfield)
The alpha app is elegant in its simplicity. You can create “sets” of friends to send things to (though you can't pick that option in the app yet … only online) which means you can have a social/friends use of Pownce and business use. Like Ross outlines, this is the next wave of applications for all sorts of communications and collaboration. When you boils it down, collaboration has always been a social media activity, just now we finally have rich and interesting ways to do it.