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This article was published on January 31, 2011

    Compartmentalize your social life with youRoom

    Compartmentalize your social life with youRoom
    Francis Tan
    Story by

    Francis Tan

    Francis Tan is the Asia editor of TNW, who is based in the Philippines. He is particularly interested in Asian Internet startups, social me Francis Tan is the Asia editor of TNW, who is based in the Philippines. He is particularly interested in Asian Internet startups, social media and e-commerce. Get in touch with him via Twitter @francistan or Email [email protected].

    TNW Quick Hit

    youRoom is a web application that provides a simple way of sharing information within different groups. While there are already sites such as Friendfeed and Sazneo that functions similarly, is youRoom still worth checking out? Read on our review to find out.

    Hits:

    • Neatly organized comments makes it easy to browse
    • Create different profiles for different rooms
    • Supports Extensions and API
    • Any file can be attached

    Misses:

    • 140 character limit
    • No mobile app
    • Rooms do not get a vanity URL
    • Very small limit for free users: only 40 MB/month

    Overall: 3.5/5

    The Details:

    In this time and age, most of our activities are done online, whether for personal or for work. There are of course the traditional means of communicating such as e-mails or social networks, however there are web apps such as youRoom that provides a clean, simple interface to make online collaboration easier and more secure.

    I personally like the green theme they used but this may not be the same for everyone. It could’ve been better if they enabled themes but it’s not a deal-breaker. It looks rather cutesy and casual rather than the usual clean, professional look. It reminds me a lot of Plurk actually.

    When you’re looking at your home view, you can see everything coming in in real-time, which makes it easy to monitor activities simultaneously, even if you’re subscribed to a lot of rooms. From there, you can directly comment, reply or send the author a direct message. The notification icons make it easy to recognize posts you haven’t seen yet. One feature lacking is the ability to post to any of your rooms directly from the home screen, with that said, there is no way of quickly posting the same message across different rooms.

    In youRoom, the rooms created are not unique. This could be slightly confusing because it’s possible to have more than one room with the same name. The descriptions aren’t displayed in the home screen so it’s hard to distinguish which is which. Having said that, there is no way to access these rooms quickly using a vanity URL.

    Composing a message is pretty straightforward but the 140 character limit seems more counterproductive. While it works for Twitter, it doesn’t exactly work with this one because it’s very limiting, especially when talking about detailed or technical matters. Other than that, it is fairly easy to tag people to your posts and you can also place it under categories set by the administrator of the room. You can also attach any kind of file to your post, which thankfully does not get subtracted from your 140 character limit. Disappointingly, there is no easy to way to directly edit or delete the post from the room view. You have to enter the post view to do so, an extra step that could be a chore.

    One think I really appreciate about youRoom is the way the flow of conversations are visualized. Your profile is also very diverse as it lets you set a different bio and avatar for each of the different rooms you are a member of. You can be the “daddy” in your home, the “boss” in the workplace, or “drunkard bob” among your friends.

    youRoom also supports extensions and API. This makes room for a lot of potential for youRoom to work with third-party apps. Currently, there is only twitter fetcher, which lets you import your twitter account to your room, but we can surely expect more to come.

    One of the biggest misses is the unavailability of a mobile app. While it does have a web interface for mobile, alerts and push notifications are simply non-negotiable for an app of this nature. There’s no notifier app for the desktop versions as well. As a workaround, you can opt to receive email updates or twitter DMs.

    youRoom is available for free. Default attachment limit per month for free users is a very stingy 40mb/month. Subscribing to premium at $5/month bumps it up to 500mb and removes all the ads.

    Although there are already similar services, youRoom is a fresh addition to the batch. It’s a promising collaboration tool with a set of neat features. The little quirks however, are a little bit off-putting but its still in beta so there is still room for improvement. If you’ve tried it yourself, we would like to hear your feedback on the comments section below.