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eSnips: Where the cool kids aren't

eSnips: Where the cool kids aren't

If you're thinking about putting yourself online at a community content site, and you haven't done so yet, you're probably a good candidate for eSnips, a shared content site that appears to cater to the more restrained among us. The unthrottled in our midst are already on MySpace, of course, but there are people who want a platform that offers a bit more structure.

eSnips is clean site that lets you post your content (pictures, video, audio) as well as collect Web snippets (just the URLs or frames of pages themselves) from around the Net. You can also write things about yourself, although the site is clearly not about laying bare your tortured soul, as much as it is a utility for collecting content and other online resources you find interesting.

You can keep your collections private, invite people to view them, or publish them for any and all to see. A neat feature is the capability to turn any collection of content into an RSS feed. So if, for example, you continuously add to your collection of interesting Corvette restoration Web sites, your friends could subscribe to a feed of just those sites. There's a browser toolbar to help you add content.

There's some discussion on the Web [blog post on Mashable] about where this service belongs. On the one hand, it's a handy replacement for a bookmarking tool like On the other, it is a community content site like MySpace. It's also a place to store videos and pictures and other multimedia files (although with a 1-gigabyte storage limit). CEO Yael Elish told me she wanted to create a site for people who want to express themselves through content they've already created, not new stuff they write for the site.

eSnips succeeds at all of the above. Yet it is strangely uncompelling. I like what the site does, but it's not a better bookmarking system than, it's not a better video distribution system than YouTube (not by a long shot), and anybody who really wants to express their professional work online would do better to launch their own branded site or blog. There's also little sense of vitality or community, partly due to the restrained design and a front page that primarily tells you what the site does and puts the people who have done it off to the side.

I'd recommend this site for its utility, if you want an easy place to collect links and content and a quick way to share them. But it's not the kind of wacky community you're going to see written about on T-shirts. If you want to be part of that, stick with the cool kids on MySpace.