Social Networking For NASCAR Fans.

I saw this post on Rex Dixon’s site “Technically Speaking” on Infield Parking, the new social website for NASCAR fans. I’ve been a NASCAR fan for a few years now, so this intrigued me. One of the pluses that IP has going for it is that the President and Co-Founder is Little E himself Dale Earnhardt Jr. This fact will instantly give the site credibility to a large segment of the racing fan population (though admittedly there may be some who will forgo it just for this reason).

So I decided to sign up. When you first hit the site, the one thing that stands out is the slick design. It looks clean and professional. Registration was a breeze, but why do some sites insist on emailing you the password you set in clear text? I would recommend they use https for authentication and please don’t email me the password I just set up 2 minutes ago in plain text. If you’re going to show me what I typed twice in the email, why block it with asterisk when I type it in at the web site? The other thing you have to do is pick a favourite driver, some people have more then one or would rather not specify, so I don’t know how that’ll work. Then you can set up your “Infield Parking Space”, the cool thing about that is the profile pages aren’t random numbers, it’s a nice intuitive URL naming structure. For instance my profile is here: http://www.infieldparking.com/Michael_NET. Easy to remember and type.

The other strength of the site appears to be its forums. Forums are the way to build community and IP has a nice selection of them with a fairly active community. I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out up to the February launch.

The NASCAR fan base (and drivers for that matter) are no longer restricted to the original south base that started the tradition. There’s plenty of tech and gadgets in NASCAR for any geek to enjoy. If you haven’t checked it out before, I suggest at least giving it a glance, it’s much more then people just turning left.

Google Waves To Digg And Others

With yesterday’s post from the googlereader blog detailing how they’ve added the new personal stats feature, a number of people have speculated on Google releasing the information in an aggregate form. As speculated earlier on this blog and others, Google may be in a position to compete in the social web with the likes of Digg. Of course this would require aggregate data on individual posts (which I’m sure they’re gathering). Another site that Google could easily compete with would be Technorati, the stats that they’re currently showing are for individual feeds, which usually correspond to an individual site. It would be trivial to provide a listing of most read and most shared feeds, those would be some interesting stats I think. Maybe call it Feedorati? Regardless, I’m expecting with 2007 to be the year of the Social Web that Google will be adding alot more social aspects to their services, and this is likely a step in that direction.

Can The Social Web Make A Difference?

Rex (I hope he doesn’t mind me calling him Rex) pointed me to this site. The aim is to raise a million dollars in 30 days for kids with dyslexia and learning disabilities. A worthy cause, make sure you digg the article so we can get the word out. I think Rex brings up a bigger question as well, can the Social Web truly make a difference? Is it big enough, and well connected enough, to really have an impact in the lives of those who are not a part of it? I think the answer is yes myself. And if it’s not currently, it’s certainly heading in that direction. Unfortunately this is the first I had heard of 8wishes and their self-imposed deadline is in a week. So hurry up and get the word out!