A Late Adapter Tries New Things

Flock and RockMelt are two new browsers that integrate your most visited sites into your browser.  They make sure your social networking tether is short and securely bound, even when you are searching for a new pair of shoes.

Setting Expectations

The first that I heard of this type of browser was a story on Marketplace. The head of RockMelt, Eric Vishra, said that the average user only goes to about five to seven websites each day.  Yet, they go to these sites repeatedly throughout the day.  He went on to say that the typical browser has not updated to adapt to the way we use the internet. 

RockMelt, as well as Flock, looks to provide the user with access to all of their most frequented sites at one time, without requiring them to move around from one site to another to find updates.  Instead they seek to present the social networking experience and other favorite feeds while handling other web browsing.  Based on the video their on main page, this is provided via two main additions: an online friend display on the left of the screen and on the right a streaming feed of information from your favorite sites.  

Based on the video?  I know what you are thinking; Rebecca is too lazy to actually try out the browser. 

You would be wrong.  I went to RockMelt’s site, which directed me to my Facebook, which allowed me to request the browser, which then informed me that I would get to download the browser in a couple of days. 

Well, Flock it. 

I’ll just use another social browser.

The Flock web browser shows the FB feed on the right and the open window on the left.I am motivated to try this out right now.  Instant gratification, in this case, was provided by Flock, a competitor’s social browser.    

So, it is day two on Flock. 

As I started out with, I am a late adapter and generally wary of knew things that have the potential to stealthy winnow either of two precious resources; my time or my money.  I joined Facebook about six months ago, dragging my feet due to concerns for the first resource.  I walked away from the AT&T kiosk clutching my iPhone about a year and half ago, hemming and hawing about the second resource.  This could end up being a similar love-hate relationship….but it is still up in the air.

I found that I had a couple of initial small disappointments.  The Facebook feed appears to only provide the posts by other users.  To me this misses an important element, the crucial update when a friend is tagged in a photo.  I haven’t seen how I am updated with my notifications other when I just log in.  This may be because the comments on my wall and messages may have been after I shut down for the evening.  I am not sure.  Also, not exactly a disappointment, but Flock did not have the left frame list of friends online that RockMelt boasted. 

Like Facebook and the iPhone, it appears to be something that I have to give some time before passing judgment.  I would need to spend some time setting up appropriate feeds and, possibly, making groups and learning how to use features that I believe are there…but have not yet explored.  In the mean time, I have already learned a couple important lessons:

  1. This is not the browser in which to do research for one’s homework assignment or have anywhere near a work related computer.
  2. One mediocre FB update, can distract me for 15 minutes and leave me completely lost, having no idea as to what I was doing prior to the rabbit hole or what led me to said fissure.

After learning these lessons, I realized that to give this an honest chance, I needed to use the tool as intended.  Last night, I decided to use Flock while intentionally wasting time.  As my whole goal was to goof off, shop for shoes, see what handy things clever people were making on Etsy, and keep in touch with friends and family, Flock worked out well.  I am thinking I’ll give it a week and see how it goes.


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