Social networks are a dime a dozen these days. The Big Names want you as a product: everything you post, they use to statistically define you and sell you to their advertisers, which isn’t bad, per se…I’d rather see ads for things I am interested in than see ads for things that are totally irrelevant to me. Mind you, I’d rather not see ads at all, but such as the Internet in the 21st century.
So why do we need another social network like Anook? First up, what the hell is Anook?
A lot of social networking outlets are either totally hands-off (Twitter) or allow users to create communities for absolutely anything that interests them (G+, Facebook). Anook is gamer-centric, and allows users to create communities centered around the games they play. Assuming the community is OK with it, you can talk about cars or building materials, but the focus is most certainly on getting gamers together to talk about the games that they play.
The mouthpieces of the service call Anook a “social aggregation service”, or something to that effect. Yes, you can talk about games on Facebook. Yes, you can join a game’s official forums for “community” (*shudder*). But let’s be honest: who plays just one game at a time? We could jump between official forums, but that’s a lot of work, and a lot of login information to create and retain. You could post stuff to Facebook, but you’re competing with Facebook-style crap begging for Likes and Shares, and a lot of non-gaming stuff. Anook handles this by merging your posts, the posts of your friends, and the posts of those in the groups you belong to on your homepage. You can post to a group about Wildstar, and then post to a forum about ArcheAge and you’ll see it all on your homepage, without having to dodge between pictures of someone’s kids in your timeline.
One of the knocks against G+ is that people find it difficult to find other people to connect to. Facebook can suffer form the same issues, but I think so many people are using Facebook that people tend to use it as an extension of existing relationships, at least to start. Do you want to make random friends on Facebook? Sure, their profile picture makes them look hot, but will you get any worthwhile interaction from them? It’s a crap shoot. At least with Anook you know that if you’re playing The Elder Scrolls Online, and you join the TESO group, you’ve got a lot in common with the other people there. Groups designed around similar interests help people find one another, and while you can do the same thing on other networks, again, Anook is gaming related. You should sign up if you’re looking for conversation about sportsball.
The problem with Anook right now is that it’s an incomplete system; it’s still being developed, so there’s a lot of “OMGCOOL” stuff that people would like to have in their social network that isn’t there yet. A lot of people are asking for a mobile app, for example, or a more mobile friendly site. An API would be nice, to allow developers to make stuff (like a mobile app!). Truly integrating other social networks like Twitter, G+, Facebook, and blogs would be great, as a lot of us want to broadcast our creations and info quickly and easily to as many people as possible. One cool feature they do have is integration with your Twitch or Hitbox channel, and the site will notify your friends through Anook when your broadcast goes live.
The Alliance of Awesome has been test-driving Anook in a bid to kick the Reddit adoption to the curb. No one in the group really likes Reddit; most of us seem to actively loathe it, in fact. Anook is turning out to be a much better venue for the AofA’s mission. We have a forum, can schedule events, can post pictures, and carry on conversations. And we can participate in the AofA alongside other gaming groups, all from one interface. Most of the constituent members of the AofA have long-standing forums of their own, so Anook is a great neutral ground that can be given over to the conglomerate, and doesn’t have to be dominated by one group’s business over the others.
If you’re a gamer who’s “making things work” on general purpose or non-optimized-for-gaming social networks, consider looking at Anook for a gaming focused network for your game-related social needs.