BlinkLifeBlinkLife, brought to you by the creators of BlinkList, is a new and innovative way of bringing friends and family closer. As far as I know, this is the first application of its kind combining blogging and email together making public and private one to one or one to many messages to family and friends. It’s a pretty neat application and It seems like a great way to keep everyone together. You post to your page much like you would a normal blogging platform, although the main difference is that you write the post in an email like interface where you can specify who can see the post. It then treats each post as a personal messaging system where if you make a post sent to “Billy” and he views your blog, he and only he will see that post.

Above is a screenshot of my BlinkLife Blog. Notice that in the screenshot you see two postings, but when you view my blog in your browser, you see only one (my test post). This is because the “What’s This?” post was sent by the BlinkLife Team to only my account. When logged in, I see the post and as you probably guessed, I don’t see it when I’m not logged in. That is what makes BlinkLife so unique. It’s a blog with a personal messaging like system. Now, lets take a different look at it. Say I am planning a trip with three friends of mine. I can make a post to those friends only and no one else can see it when they view my blog.

Login to your BlinkLife and you can can view all posts, or “emails,” sent to you in the Lifebox, compose a post, manage contacts, and modify the appearance of your BlinkLife. Viewing your “email” in the Lifebox, managing contacts, and composing posts works just like your basic email application and anyone familiar with email can easily pick up on BlinkLife. You can also attach images to your posts that anyone that you are sending your post to can see. One feature that I like about BlinkLife is that you can create groups of contacts making it easy for you to send posts to groups of friends and family rather then inserting each email address at a time. BlinkLife also provides a template system so you can customize your blogs appearance to your likings. There are 17 templates that you can choose from and if your not satisfied with the selection, you can modify the CSS of a template.

BlinkLife serves as a great solution for keeping in touch with friends and family. Anyone that is familiar with email can quickly learn how to use BlinkLife to start posting and staying connected. I’ve done some testing with BlinkLife but haven’t had the chance to use it with any relatives yet, but hope to soon. Everything seemed to work fine, with the exception of one error that seems to occur only in Firefox when submitting a comment to a post. But other then that, thngs went well and my blog is up and running and I hope to use it with my family in the near future. It will certainly come in use for planning all these summer vacations we’ve got planned!

One last note: If you’d like to learn more about BlinkLife and the folks behind it (MindValley), make sure to view their BlinkLife Team Blog.

BlinkLife – Connecting Family and Friends.

Update: Looks like I’ve jumped the gun a bit assuming BlinkLife was the first of its kind. Thanks to Razvan and Avdi in the comments, I now know that Yahoo! 360 and LiveJournal have similar functionality built into their systems in the form of filters. I’ll have to signup to those two systems to get a look at how they work.


16 Comments on “BlinkLife – Connecting Family and Friends”

  1. Razvan says:

    It looks like Yahoo! 360 blog section, only diference being that you can send to individuals and not only to groups. The difference between public/private messages (those received) is not so obvious and makes me activate my paranoid traits.

    Looks fine but there is no real usage for that, and perhaps Yahoo will just add the missing (small) features.

  2. Brian Benzinger says:

    Razvan, thanks for bringing Yahoo! 360 to my attention. I was not aware the blog section of Y! 360 had similar functionality. I’ll have to take a look at it.

    As for the public/private messages, the system uses hover tooltips when in the compose area that shows what they are and they are also defined in the help section, although you are right that it should easier to spot.

    According to the tooltips – Public: Anyone visiting your BlinkLife can see the message; Private: Only the groups and contacts you select can read the message.

    The way I saw it work as I was going through the system is that if your send a message to a few friends in public status, it will add the message to your friends Lifebox’s and add it to the blog for all to see. And sending as private to friends will only inform them and only display the post for them. I’ll have to test around with that more when I get some more friends to play with it.

  3. Avdi says:

    LiveJournal has had that feature, in the form of “Filters”, for years. After blogging on LiveJournal for a long time, I came to the conclusion that it’s a feature which leads to bad habits and ultimately does more harm than good. It fosters a false sense of privacy and security on an insecure web. There are a lot of potential problems, but the classic scenario goes like this:

    Bob, Alice, Joe, and Susan are all friends in real life. Bob posts a message that Alice and Joe can see, but which is invisible to Susan. One day Alice and Susan are talking and Alice makes reference to the post, assuming that it was visible to everyone in their circle. Susan has no idea what she’s talking about, and realizes that Bob is excluding her from some of the posts that their mutual friends can see. She starts to wonder what else he’s posted “behind her back”. Distrust ensues.

    Obviously this can be an issue with email as well, but in practice I find it to be less so. Email has more of a one-to-one connotation, so people are less likely to assume that others have also read what they are reading. And, to use our example above, Joe is more likely to look at Bob’s blog while Susan is looking over his shoulder than he is to read his mail with her looking on.

    I wrote down my thoughts on this subject at greater length here.

  4. Brian Benzinger says:

    Avdi, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The example you give certainly does illustrate where a mess can be made with such a service. I suppose things like that can tend to happen when having private messaging.

    I feel that the main use of the service on my end is to have a seperate group for my friends and a seperate group for my family. When I want to talk to my friends, maybe ask if they want to do something or go out to dinner, I would send it to them. When I want to ask my family something or discuss a family vacation, I can while keeping my friends away from the discussion as it doesn’t involve them.

    Thanks again, Avdi. Your comment certainly makes me more cautious about the service.

    Looks like I jumped the gun assuming this application was a one of a kind, now seeing that Y! 360 and LiveJournal have similar functionality in their blogging systems.

  5. Ryan Sullivan says:

    Thanks for the post until now I was unaware of this new service. I signed up for a new account and was sorely disappointed in the product. Why? Because it is a cheap and unappointed imitation and ripoff of an already existing service I use and love called Multiply.com I’m not sure why more people aren’t aware of it or why people aren’t raving over its superb offerings, but I think it deserves a posting from you to your user base. Multiply does the personalized blog thing flawlessly by giving you the option of posting to friends, family, everyone, or specific people and will even email targeted postings from all your contacts in one email. It can even import your blog entry from LiveJournal or Blogger. Beyond that you can upload photos and import from Flickr, Yahoo!, Shutterfly, or Kodak Gallery. You buddy John Doe can even order a print from the high-res photo. It lets you share full length video, music, calendars, links, recipes, and website reviews, to as many or as few people as you want. Go to http://multiply.com/info/tour/1 to see the tour, sign up for a free account and spread the word because this company is going to be big as soon as the kids of this generation forget about MySpace like we did in the past with Geocities. Anyway to agree with your statement earlier there are other services out there that provide focused blogging and the quote on Multiply’s homepage sums it up best. “Want to show your profile to millions of people you don’t know? Use MySpace. Share your photos, video, music, blogs and more with the people you already know and love: Join Multiply.”

  6. Brian Benzinger says:

    Ryan, excellent comment! I’ll definitely have to check out Multiply. I’ve heard of the service before, although I haven’t tried it yet. Thanks to your very descriptive comment, it’s clear its a great product with a ton of functionality.

  7. hisham says:

    it seems BlinkLife is the only one that doesnt require me to make all my friends and family “join” to keep in touch.. but i could be wrong

  8. Brian Benzinger says:

    Hisham – You are correct. You are not required to join anything to view ones blog or to comment. However, if you want to perform private messaging with someone and view them on the blog, they will need to join so they can view them there.

  9. Vishen says:

    Hi Guys. Thanks for reviewing our site and sharing your feedback. BlinkLife is not another Multilply nor is it just a blog with personalization options. Rather – it’s an extension of our own BlinkList idea. (see BlinkList.com).

    It’s a way for people to tag data, tag recipients of data, and then mix and match delivery and publishing to create whatever they wish – whether it’s blogs, news sites, subscription services etc. That’s all I can say for now. It’s not even in Alpha stage yet. Somehow word got out early – hence the initial bugs (oops!) We’re delighted at the exposure but you’re really just seeing a portion of it now.

    I do look forward to hearing your comments when we launch. Thanks

    Vishen (www.mindvalley.com)

  10. Blinklife and Your Personal Life - rev2.org says:

    [...] Blinklife, from the creators of Blinklist is a really nice way for keeping track of your family and friends. Brian Benzinger has reviewed it in detail so apart from saying that it’s really nice, I won’t be going any further. Comments [...]

  11. Faheem Ahmed says:

    I’ve been waiting for this for a long time!

    I want to post to ONE blog, but show different views to people based on the tags I assign to each entry. For instance, I’m comfortable sharing some aspects of my personal life with colleagues and anyone else who stumbles across my blog, but not all. I may share some entries some about our baby with friends and family, and some only with my mom and dad. Or I may want to share posts about gadgets with friends and the general public, but hide them from family members who have no interest in such things.

    I strongly believe that personalization will make it easier to bring new users into the habbit of reading and writing blogs.

    I was an early adopter of Multiply.com but it didn’t offer half the features it does today and I had a hard time signing up my family members. I was excited about Yahoo! 360 because everyone I know already has an account so signing people up wouldn’t be an issue, but so far they’ve missed the mark, have been slow to add new features, and their site has become a virtual ghost town. So for now, my workaround is to create multiple blogs and then create blog aggregator accounts for folks. That is way too tedious.

    I hope blinklife has a good plan for signing up users. Not everyone can become a Flickr and attract so many users so quickly.

    Good luck guys!

  12. hisham says:

    hey, i’ve tried sending messages to a few friends( non-blinklife users) and they can see private messages, and comment/reply, without signing up~!! to see those messages again, they come in thru the email they received.

    i used to annoy friends with “join my yadayada” but i guess, not anymore

    im pretty excited about this. looking forward to enhancements. all the best

  13. Craig says:

    Add another one. http://onmycity.com has has this feature for a while and it’s much more advanced. You can even give permissions to a category. If you want to see something that no one has done yet come over and check it out.

  14. rob says:

    A new site aimed at reaching out to families specifically is Families at FamiJam

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