Trig: Good-looking social networking, or is it?

Trig is a new social-networking site based out of Sweden that's aiming to steal you away from MySpace with its devastatingly good looks and indie branding. But is it all just a facade?

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
3 min read

Trig is a new social-networking site based out of Sweden that's aiming to steal you away from MySpace with its devastatingly good looks and indie branding. Trig has a gorgeous welcome page. It first caught my eye when I saw it featured on The Museum of Modern Betas. It seemed to have everything MySpace did (and more), but with a unmistakable visual appeal. I was hoping the actual site would have a similar luster, but Web sites (like books) can't be judged on outside appearances alone, and Trig is unfortunately proof of this.

Trig profiles are easy on the eyes CNET Networks

Trig is a work in progress, with a few nice social-networking features that have a lot of potential. It's easy to skin your profile: instead of coming up with complex HTML code that needs to be stuck in certain parts of your profile (I'm looking at you, MySpace), there are a dozen skins to choose from that are similar in quality to what you'd find on a blogging service such as Wordpress. What you get in quality you lose in the customization, though, which is a problem in this category.

Another nice feature is a photo gallery with 100MB of space for each user. Similar to Facebook and Flickr, you can tag and set privacy levels for each photo. Trig uses a photo-editing system similar to Flickr's, making it easy to rename and add captions to photos in your gallery just by clicking on the text. Photos can be stuck into profile comments, blogs, or personal messages and then resized easily just by drag-clicking the corners. It's a nice touch and very intuitive.

Trig dips into the social-bookmarking scene with the ability to "Trig" things. Trigging someone's profile, personal blog, or pictures adds to his or her total Trig count. If your profile gets enough Trigs, you'll be featured on Trig's front page. You can also see who has recently looked at your page, which admittedly is a bit creepy from a privacy standpoint, but interesting for the profile owner. Stalkers can turn this feature off and look at people's profiles without them knowing.

Most of the profiles with the highest Trig count are half-naked female models or Trig staff members. It will be interesting to see how this model scales with more users, and whether clothed people can make the top 10.

Trig's profile skin chooser CNET Networks

Trig's profile management needs work. There are a lot of options in one place, but it's not always easy to see areas that need attention, such as your message in-box or friend requests. I'd like to see a system similar to Facebook's, where new notifications show up on a sidebar. Luckily, there are RSS notification feeds you can subscribe to for both comments and new Trig counts, but that means venturing outside the site for your news.

Despite its innovations, Trig doesn't make me want to venture away from MySpace or Facebook. I don't think any of my friends will want to leave either. MySpace has music. Facebook has my classmates. And more importantly, they both have a ton of users.

Trig doesn't seem to have an identity yet. There are a lot of neat things Trig is doing, but not one of them is a cohesive feel or purpose that brings it together in a way that draws me in and keeps me there. If Trig could create a user experience that matches the beauty and simplicity of its welcome page, along with an easy way for a niche community to come together, I think Trig could create a draw for changing social networks. In the meantime, it's just not enough.