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Uncram launches quickie publishing for social network users

Feeling hemmed in on Twitter or Facebook? Uncram lets you create topic pages fast and share them easily.

The pitch from the Uncram PR rep was that Twitter's 140-character limit is holding it back from being truly useful. "I'll take this meeting," I replied, "since I fundamentally disagree with the premise. Twitter is great because of its limits."

But Uncram isn't a text expander like Instead, it's a quick-and-dirty page publishing system that uses Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn as its social communications strata. It has potential.

Uncram pages can have text, videos, links, and topic snippets from the Metaweb data store. Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET

The idea with the service is that if you want to share an idea, there's a better way to do it than just typing a short blurb and putting in a link. On an Uncram page, you can insert multiple links, photos, videos, and maps. More interestingly, Uncram has a strong topic extraction system. It can discern what the text in your post is about, and will offer up topic snippets from MetaWeb's Freebase, where Uncram's CEO, Arial Porath, was once director of strategy.

Uncram has a little browser extension that makes getting into the system easy. When you're writing a post on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn, you get an "Uncram" button alongside the usual "Post" button. It fires up the page creator for you and lets you immediately share a page--called a "diary" in Uncram lingo--as soon as it's ready.

The Uncram pages look very good and carry their own discussion threads, which is both necessary and weird. It's necessary because nothing else will drive repeat traffic to these pages than a social component, but weird because the whole idea of Uncram is that you share these pages from social networks like Facebook and Twitter, which are primarily discussion platforms themselves. Uncram is designed, Porath says, to be a "write once, broadcast anywhere" system for social networks. "You should use the social network for your headlines, not the end destination," he says. In that regard it's not that different from many other Web publishing platforms, but its integration into social networks is tighter.

Uncram pages can also be private, or unlisted.

The Uncram browser extension adds a second button to status update fields. Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET

I'm not sure Uncram works as a large-scale consumer play. Google+ and Facebook are getting better at allowing users to create rich, multipart status updates. But it does have a potential revenue angle for businesses. There will be white-label or brandable versions of the platform. Since it is so easy to create a diary page on Uncram, it could be useful for marketers who quickly want to generate nice-looking and complete landing pages for social-media campaigns. Launching a weekend promotion for your nationwide chain restaurant? Throw together a page on this platform in a second and share it on all your networks. It's not a new idea, but the Uncram publishing system and social-network integration could make this platform a solid tool for brand marketers.