Takkle.com, social networking for jocks
Cool idea, but it needs work, especially with the underage user base.
The once-seemingly-vast gulf between the sociable jock and the computer geek (think Revenge of the Nerds) seems to be shrinking faster by the day. Last night at the New York Web 2.0 Social Networking Tech Meetup (wow, that's a mouthful), I met a few of the guys responsible for Takkle.com. In short, it's a social networking and media site geared toward those involved in high school sports: players, coaches, and fans. Takkle's been getting a fair amount of positive buzz since its Monday launch, thanks in particular to a partnership with Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" feature, which showcases amateur athletes.
On the surface, it reminds me a bit of the AOL-owned extreme sports site Lat34.com, but with the focus more on social networking and less on video content. A closer look, however, shows that Takkle is actually a pretty versatile site. High school students can use it for MySpace-style social networking, coaches can use it to organize team logistics, and college recruiters can use it to seek out talent. That last one could prove controversial: I was an athlete in college, and I can say that the NCAA's recruiting regulations are quite stringent.
Additionally, for a service that's geared toward high schoolers, Takkle does not appear to have much in the way of safety features other than a reminder that users should think twice before posting personal information. If the site gains popularity, I can see concern emerging among parent organizations before too long. But the site's still in beta--if Takkle manages to address that issue, and add a few cool new features, this New York-based start-up could really go places.