Sprouter aims to introduce and connect entrepreneurs, small businesses and start ups with their ideas, knowledge, opinion and potentially funding.
The social network imitates the functionality and ideals behind Twitter to create a smooth and well developed user interface with some features I’d actually like to see Twitter adopt.
With hash-tags, direct messages, followers, followees, users will quickly settle into the sites familiar environment and allow them to start engaging with topics, businesses and individuals that interest them and their current involvement’s.
The site has been clearly well thought out and designed, possibly identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the Twitter native web app. The filters option is one feature, that emulates the recent addition to Twitter with Lists, that I really admire and in this particular environment adds real value to organizing the stream of information and opinion on display.
Threaded conversations though, is what moves it a step on from the native Twitter client when in direct comparison. Sending a message in response to a ‘sprout’ (Sorry, couldn’t resist) places it below the original message and in the familiar threaded format, encouraging discussion revolved around a particular statement or topic.
So the aesthetics and interface are a winner, but what about the main objectives of the service and it’s potential to achieve a long term viable operation?
Instead of asking Twitter users, ‘What are you doing?’, Sprouter is asking ‘What are you working on? with a view to connecting entrepreneurs, small businesses and sharing opinion and information.
Sarah Prevette, the founder and CEO, believes that “Sprouter can provide the forum for real-time networking and collaboration so everyone can benefit from mistakes and successes.”. Indeed it does and after it’s beta launch back in August 2009, it’s providing it’s user with a unique space to market themselves, their ideas and businesses. Another anchor to Sprouter’s popularity is the Sprout Ups, again emulating the success of Twestival’s that have been a real hit with the Tweeks (Twitter Geeks) around the globe.
According to Erin, the Community Manager, an iPhone app is planned which will be crucial in adding that accessibility aspect to the service. It will add real bite to Sprouter’s offering and with such a emphasis on the business world, they should definitely be looking to develop a Blackberry version too.
For anyone looking for direction, funding or even ideas, Sprouter is an intelligent place to start. With an astute interface and well developed site, it’s a key and accessible resource for any budding entrepreneur.