How many of you have noticed that widget entitled “Some of my favorite stuff” over there in my sidebar? (please note: the sidebar widget is no longer there as of two minutes ago. I removed it as it was conflicting with the widgets in today’s post so, don’t worry – you’re not losing your mind. At least, with regard to this issue, you’re not. I can’t speak to the rest of your life, though.)
How many of you noticed it but had no clue what it was?
How many of you are sitting there asking What the hell is a widget?
HI MOM and DAD! ((waving furiously))
That widget is the brainchild of an up and coming company called UkuMi, based out of Austin, Texas. I was going to be all I could tell you its name but then I’d have to kill you but who am I kidding? You’re way the hell over there and I don’t feel like getting off the couch.
This widget forms the foundation of a whole new breed of social networking that is poised to rock the online community and get this … I am a beta tester. I know! I’m as surprised as anyone. Someone values my opinion and actually listens to me when I voice it!
YOU OWE ME $20. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. NATE.
I am fortunate to get it on the ground floor with UkuMi and that bears repeating as I cannot emphasize the awesome awesomeness of that one fact alone: I am in on something at the beginning, not ten years after the fact. On the ground floor. That’s like the complete opposite of the roof! You know, the place where you’ll usually find me, right before the building is condemned for being out of code, style, fashion, touch and the loop. For the first time since I debuted four inch black patent leather pumps in the senior corridor of Hilton High School in 1984, I am way ahead of the game! After I write this, I’m running out and getting me some parachute pants.
This is UkuMi’s newest generation of the widget and it is completely interactive. When UkuMi goes live and opens itself up to the general public, which will be in a few weeks, you will be able to sign up with them for free and create your own widget filled with your favorite things or whatever you deem worthy of your online audience. You can use their application to build collections of images, websites, posts, products and/or news items that are relevant to you and your community. You will have your own UkuMi website page in which to house and organize your collections and it is from this page that you will “pull” images into your widget on the fly. You can have one widget on your site or fifty. You will be able to style the widget to blend in with your website design so that it doesn’t look like it dropped out of the sky and went *splat* on your site while sporting a big, fat, pink neon billboard around its neck emblazoned with the words SORE THUMB. Readers can rate and comment on any of the items in your widget, as well as recommend cool stuff that’s relevant to them. It’s a collaborative process whereby UkuMi users and their readers interact, share, network and even “swap” collection items with each other. I don’t know about you, but I’m always up for a little swapping!
And right about now, my mother-in-law just inhaled and choked on her own tongue. Anyway, as the network of UkuMi users grows, so will the diversity of items and communities represented in the network.
Let’s take another gander at the widget, shall we?
You can scroll through the various categories of items by clicking on the drop down menu at the top right hand corner of the widget. Once you choose a category, you can scroll through the different items in that category by clicking either the right or left arrows located on the sides of the widget. If there is only one item in a category, there will be no left or right arrows. I’ve filled this particular widget with just a couple of my favorite things and by doing so, I’ve opened a discussion with you, my readers, in which I ask for your opinions. For instance, check under the Household and Food category. Would you trample over your youngest child in a desperate attempt to score the last Skinny Cow in the freezer? Click the Thumbs Up on that item! Does Edy’s Peppermint ice cream make you want to rip out your spleen and slap your grandma silly with it? Click the thumbs down option on that item! And then go apologize to your grandma and enroll in an anger management class.
Go ahead, try it! I mean, interacting with the widget above, not yanking out body parts and smacking your grannies with them. That would be mean. And I don’t need the geriatric police after me, thank you very much.
What’s great about UkuMi’s social networking application is that you can fill your widget with images of anything you like … photos of your kids or pets, books you’ve read, people you’ve slept with, your favorite recipes or blog posts, a picture of your ugly ass orange shag carpet that reminds you of your Aunt Bertie after she hit menopause. You’ll notice that under Lustful Things, I have my man Anderson in my widget and can I just say how happy typing that sentence just made me? Anderson is part of my collection. Now, if you also have a slightly unhealthy interest in Mr. Cooper which compels you to tackle your husband the moment he walks in the door, spray paint his hair silver, shove blue contacts into his eyes and duct tape a microphone to his mouth, you can click the “thumbs up” icon under Anderson’s image, leave a comment about his total hotness if you’d like and then, if you also happen to be a UkuMi user, add him into your own collection. But hurry up because they’re working on a STEP THE HELL BACK, SISTER! I DON’T SHARE button that I requested specifically for such a scenario.
You can leave comments under any item, telling me I’ve got impeccable taste despite my dubious wardrobe or, in the alternative, declaring that my taste sucks the big wazoo and recommending some other product that I’ve probably never heard about because I’m too busy copping a squat atop a dilapidated roof somewhere in the middle of nowhere. When you leave a comment, you leave your name and URL and a social networking opportunity is born.
In addition to the social networking aspect, UkuMi will eventually roll out their own advertising program whereby interested UkuMi members can monetize their blogs, websites or UkuMi pages. Advertisers will send “offers” that you, as an UkuMi member, can either approve or reject which means you have total control as to what products appear in your widget. Total control. As in, no more erectile dysfunction ads appearing on your website when you least expect it. I mean, hello? SIGN ME UP.
Here’s an example of a widget sponsored by Procter and Gamble, centered around an Olympic theme. You’ll notice that there’s nothing BUY ME RIGHT NOW OR YOU’RE A MORON about the widget, right? It’s tastefully done and doesn’t scream I’M AN AD! LOOK AT ME which 99% of the time, turns a visitor off. Isn’t this kind of advertising a refreshing change for websites? In the widget, P&G has included one of their commercials about Olympic athletes. Have you seen this commercial? I defy any parent to watch it and not get all goosebumpy. I myself got all verklempt, thus the comment I left them. Speaking as a parent of a natural born athlete, it is one of the best commercials I’ve ever seen and makes all that money we’re shelling out for Helena’s karate lessons worth it because who knows? Maybe one day we’ll see her bespectacled, skinny little frame atop a podium.
Is karate even an Olympic sport? Do I need to start a petition or something?
With UkuMi’s advertising network, you’ll earn some extra income while the advertisers gain exposure and invaluable feedback from potential customers. It’s a win win! So much better than staring at a roach spray ad with YOU PAY, WE SPRAY yelling at you from your side bar, don’t you think? Even if you’re not interested in monetizing your site, the potential of UkuMi’s social network alone is, I believe, worth some investigation. Oh, and their people? Super nice to deal with. If I’m ever important enough to have people, I want them to be just like UkuMi’s.
Do me a favor, will you? Play around with these widgets a little? Click around and thumb up or thumb down as you please and tell me what you think. Are you liking the whole concept of the widget and downloading images of George Clooney and Hawaii as we speak? Are you hating it and considering calling my mother and asking her where she went wrong?
Come on … how often will I ever ask you to play around with my widgets? Anderson, you need not answer that.