LoveIt is the latest Social Collection Site to hit the headlines since Pinterest.
Hold Up, what’s Social Collection?
Ash Mashadi explainns it brilliantly in his post Keep Calm and LoveIt
You’ve heard of Pinterest, the site that allows you to create virtual boards on which you can attach content from all over the web? Let’s say you have a burning interest in left-handed screwdrivers or high performance cars, or love sharing pictures and recipes for cupcakes, or… well you get the idea. You can create a board for each interest and whenever you find a website with pictures of cupcakes or supercars and you think to yourself “I wish there was a place I could put all these links so I can look at them when I have time and maybe even show my pals to demonstrate what an amazing hunter-gatherer of cool things I am”. Despair no more, because now you have it.
That’s what social collecting is all about: making great collections of stuff you like on the internet for yourself and so that other people can enjoy them too. On the back of that comes some interesting engagement opportunities too.
Although Pinterest is the fastest growing Social Network site ever and is growing at a whopping rate of 400% week on week, it reportedly took the site 9 months to reach 10,000 users. A number which was exceeded by LoveIt within a few days of the public launch in June this year.
I got the brilliant opportunity of interviewing Kat Garcia, head of PR at LoveIt and here’s what she said:
SocialMummy: First up. Who do I have the pleasure of talking to and what do you do?
SM: So the name is brilliant and pretty self explanatory. Were you surprised to see the url still available or did you need to barter for it?
K: Glad you’re a fan of our name too! We liked it so much we purchased the URL from its previous owner.
SM: What’s with the Squirrel? Is there a special meaning to your lovely logo?
K: LoveIt is all about discovering, collecting, organizing, collaborating on and sharing all of the things you love. When we sat down and thought about the LoveIt community being curators and squirreling away images of everything they love, it seemed like a natural fit to have a squirrel holding an acorn. Squirrels run around, love collecting acorns and finding places to put everything they collect, which parallels activity on LoveIt.
SM: What was the reason behind launching LoveIt?
K: Our three Co-Founders (Ron LaPierre, Tom Soulanille and Wei Guo) and our two Board Members (Talmadge O’Neill and Harry Tsao) all worked with each other at various points in their careers and wanted to find a way to work together again. They did some informal research toward the end of 2011 as the “pinning” phenomenon emerged. People said they wanted to have private collections, time-saving tools, better organizational tools, the ability to easily discover new content and share more of their content quickly. This feedback piqued their curiosity and they realized there was a need in the industry that our team could meet.
SM: I guess you’re pretty used to being compared to Pinterest. What makes LoveIt better?
K: We do look similar on the surface but we’ve built in tools to differentiate ourselves and will continue to build tools that set us apart. We’re actively listening to our community and the current differentiators they’ve asked us to create include the following:
i. Private Collections / Collaboration — We offer private collections so people can collaborate with colleagues on work projects or with friends on travel plans or for surprise parties.
ii. Discovery — We connect people with their friends – and help them discover other people, brands, websites, and blogs that share similar visual tastes. For example if you tell us you like “Food & Drink” we’ll recommend content from all of our sources that cover the latest foodie trends.
iii. Easy Organization — We take organization to the next level with convenient and intuitive drag-and-drop tools to rearrange images from one collection to another.
iv. Content Importer — Currently designed for Pinterest, people can replicate their entire collections or select multiple images from their account to share on LoveIt. The images will all link back to the original bookmarked source and the captions will be automatically included too.
v. Multiplicity – People can quickly “love” several of their images in one simple step from any online source such as Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr and their blog. These images can be added to one collection or various collections with similar or unique descriptions.
vi. Batch Uploads — People can highlight and upload numerous images from their personal computers. This allows users to share more of their personal, offline image collections with friends, family and other interested parties.
SM: Mobile technology and the trend in image sharing makes platforms like LoveIt very of the moment. How do you intend to move with the times?
K: We plan to stay current by always listening to our community and letting their feedback guide the development priorities we have. We do have a product roadmap in place but we shift the roll-out of new features based on the needs and wants our users tell us about. Mobile is very important to us too and we’re working on developing apps for iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
SM: LoveIt is a wonderful platform for creative people. What’s the most creative use of LoveIt you have seen so far?
K: Not to sound cliché, but there are so many creative uses I’ve seen already! I’d say four of the most interesting public collections are:
i. The personal, visual interpretation of the lyrics to Bruce Springsteen’s Thunder Road;
ii. A visual, personalized novel called Right at Dawn;
Which is a collection created by Jason Campeaux for our Squirrelwind Getaway contest. He told us that his ideal getaway would be to Vancouver because he wanted to visit his girlfriend and surprise her with a promise ring. He put 75 images into the collection telling the world all about how they met, the sights he’d like to see, and was so inspiring that he won the contest!
SM: What was the first image ever posted on LoveIt?
K: I had to do some digging to find this one but the oldest image that’s in our database is from one of our engineers back in February as we were starting to build the site.
SM: Who is your favourite Lover?
K: I really do love a lot of our squirrels but I have to admit that Merry Haustein a.k.a. “Gramma Merry” is one of my personal favorites. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her in person but I feel like I know her because we spend a good deal of time commenting on each other’s space and nature images. One time she told me she was awake at 2:30 in the morning commenting on my images and our friendship all started with this gorgeous image from NASA.
SM:Is LoveIt a good platform for both personal and business use?
K: Absolutely! We have several big brands already using LoveIt including Rachael Ray’s brands, Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living, Marie Claire, and Honda as well as popular online companies like AHAlife, Airbnb, Eat24, eSalon and Gogobot.
We’ve also heard from bloggers, photographers and event industry professionals that they use LoveIt for business. Private collections are pretty popular for business purposes because images can be shared with a select group of people and they can provide immediate feedback from anywhere in the world. For example, Susan Cope is using a private collection to work with a colleague on inspirations for an upcoming tabletop competition and it’s all being done away from the eyes of her competitors.
One of LoveIt’s Board Members, Talmadge O’Neill, created a public collection called Cool Offices as way to gather ideas for hip, open environments as we build our new office space too.
SM: One of my favourite features at the moment is the ability to upload or publish several images from the same source at one. What other cool features are you planning for LoveIt?
K: I’m really glad you like our new features! We’re actually discussing which features on our list should come next and have sent a short survey out to some of our active users to get an idea of what they think will be most useful. After we gather the data and personal feedback from Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and email correspondence we’ll figure out exactly what will be next. Even if some of your readers didn’t get the survey, we’d love to hear from them in the comments or on our social profiles.
SM: LoveIt is still in its infancy. What is your vision for the future?
K: Right now we’re completely focused on creating the best user experience possible and I can comfortably say that will be true in the future too. We want to create a platform that has something for everyone in terms of content and functionality.
SM: Any lasting thoughts?
K: Hmmm…can I give you a random nerdy thought instead? Star Trek has been a recurring theme for me this week. First, one of our engineers said my dress was very Star Trek. Then I noticed Google’s homepage tribute to Star Trek honoring the 46th anniversary of the series. Last and definitely not least, Star Trek’s George Takei (Hikaru Sulu) debuts previews of Allegiance – A New American Musical this weekend!
Thanks so much to Kat. I’m so excited that I got the chance to speak to you!
I will be writing a piece shortly about Pinterest and LoveIt so keep a look out.
Related posts: Is there still a problem with Pinterest?