Meshly is not really like Twitter; it is not really like del.icio.us; and it is not really like digg. But comparisons to all three are fair when trying to figure out just what exactly Meshly actually is. Like Twitter, Meshly is an instant blogging application, like del.icio.us it is about saving links, and it has a voting component that closely resembles digg.
The best way to describe Meshly is as an instant messenger based bookmarking tool. Using either MSN, AIM, or GTalk instant messengers, users post, tag, and describe links to Meshly. The entire sign up process is done via instant messenger, and is pretty painless. Once links are posted to the site, people vote on them digg-style so the best each day, week, and month are highlighted. Users can comment on the links via the site, or browse by tag like on del.icio.us.
Meshly also lets users create a personal "channel," if they so desire. Channels are sort of like a personal tag for all of your links that lets people watch, discuss, and vote on links you add them. Any channel or tag can be made into a widget that you can embed into your website.
Adding a link to Meshly goes something like this:
meshly: adding a new post. type cancel at any time to quit.
please enter the url for the link
meshly: enter a title for the link
User: The Expansion of Social Networks
meshly: enter a brief description of the link
User: Alex Iskold looks at how social networks will expand into niche verticals and what that means for everyone (general social networks and niche ones alike).
meshly: enter post tags (keywords) seperated by spaces (example: funny tech robots)
User: web2.0 socialnetworks vertical iskold readwriteweb
meshly: what channel(s) should i submit your post to?
enter 1 or more channel names seperated by a space. if the channel doesn't exist, a new channel will be created.
post to general if you don't know where to place this post.
(example: general yourblogname scienceinterest)
meshly: about to post:
The Expansion of Social Networks
Alex Iskold looks at how social networks will expand into niche verticals and what that means for everyone (general social networks and niche ones alike).
filed under: web2.0 socialnetworks vertical iskold readwriteweb
posted to: web2.0
It would be easy to dismiss Meshly as just another digg or del.icio.us clone with a gimmick (IM posting). But Meshly is well made, if not so polished in presentation, and posting from IM is convenient and should appeal to the Twitter set, who expect instant gratification. Their widget is a very clever addition, that allows people to create a link blog without really having to do any work, and could help spread the site. See a cool link? IM Meshly and it gets posted to your widget automatically.
There is a bit of confusion between tags and channels, however -- the two seem redundant to me, and Meshly would also be wise to add a standard bookmarklet so people can add links without going through the IM bot.