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Rackspace's Startup Liaison Officer

Formspring: changing social conversations on the web

Published

The phrase 'rapid growth' doesn't quite do justice to the explosion in usage that a new social site called Formspring has enjoyed since it launched just 18 months ago. With over 24 million user accounts and 3.5 million unique visitors every day, it is one of the hottest sites on the Internet.

"Basically, it's a social site where friends get to know each other—their personality, their sense of humor and what they're interested in," explains Ade Olonoh, Founder and CEO of Formspring. "My sense was there wasn't really a great way to know more about people in a deeper way. A lot of social tools that are out there are great for understanding what you're doing right now, where you are and things like that versus getting people to tell their story, showing their sense of humor, expressing their personality."

One of the reasons Formspring has seen such widespread usage is the way it eliminates the anxiety some of us feel around posting our thoughts online. "For the average person looking at that blank box," says Olonoh, "it's really hard to think up on the spot, 'What should I write about?', 'Who cares what I'm saying?', etc. But with Formspring because everything you post is in response to a question or to comment or something like that, it's a lot more natural and a lot more conversational."

Having conversations in a question and answer format also alters the dynamic that exists on many social sites where you get to know someone by waiting to see what they say about themselves. On Formspring, you are asking questions about things that interest you and receiving responses accordingly.

"The way I like to think about it," says Olonoh, "is taking a coffee shop conversation...and looking at the back and forth nature of that [conversation] and taking that online. One of core activities on Formspring is you ask different questions. If you think about that coffee shop conversation, most of those conversations start with, 'What are you doing this weekend?', "What do you think about this that happened?'...so that's what we're trying to bring to the web."

More info:

Formspring web site: http://www.formspring.me/
Formspring profile on CrunchBase: http://www.crunchbase.com/company/formspring
Formspring on Twitter: http://twitter.com/formspring

The phrase 'rapid growth' doesn't quite do justice to the explosion in usage that a new social site called Formspring has enjoyed since it launched just 18 months ago. With over 24 million user accounts and 3.5 million unique visitors every day, it is one of the hottest sites on the Internet. "Basically, it's a social site where friends get to know each other—their personality, their sense of humor and what they're interested in," explains Ade Olonoh, Founder and CEO of Formspring. "My sense was there wasn't really a great way to know more about people in a deeper way. A lot of social tools that are out there are great for understanding what you're doing right now, where you are and things like that versus getting people to tell their story, showing their sense of humor, expressing their personality." One of the reasons Formspring has seen such widespread usage is the way it eliminates the anxiety some of us feel around posting our thoughts online. "For the average person looking at that blank box," says Olonoh, "it's really hard to think up on the spot, 'What should I write about?', 'Who cares what I'm saying?', etc. But with Formspring because everything you post is in response to a question or to comment or something like that, it's a lot more natural and a lot more conversational." Having conversations in a question and answer format also alters the dynamic that exists on many social sites where you get to know someone by waiting to see what they say about themselves. On Formspring, you are asking questions about things that interest you and receiving responses accordingly. "The way I like to think about it," says Olonoh, "is taking a coffee shop conversation...and looking at the back and forth nature of that [conversation] and taking that online. One of core activities on Formspring is you ask different questions. If you think about that coffee shop conversation, most of those conversations start with, 'What are you doing this weekend?', "What do you think about this that happened?'...so that's what we're trying to bring to the web." More info: Formspring web site: http://www.formspring.me/ Formspring profile on CrunchBase: http://www.crunchbase.com/company/formspring Formspring on Twitter: http://twitter.com/formspring