Sep 3 2009
We all have childhood memories that involved pushing the boundaries. Those were the days when TP’ing houses was fun, late nights were spent drinking high doses of Jolt cola, (the original energy drink), and if girls were involved, Truth or Dare. Eventually we got older and the allure of daring someone to do something lost its magic. Drained by the march of time, consequences, and common sense.
Undaunted by the encroachment of maturity, Make A Dare threatens to bring back the inner mischievous child in all of us. It’s a new social networking site, still in beta, which revolves around dares, on the internet. Video or photo proof is required to demonstrate completion of the dare. If that didn’t translate to provocative sex gestures in most people’s minds then I don’t know what will.
The site is just like you might expect. You sign up, are given a profile page, network with friends, and then make and receive dares. A sample dare is anything from kick someone in the groin, to show your underwear. Incidentally, the show your underwear dare fits the requisite internet protocol. You’re lulled in by a sexy screen shot of a woman in her brazillian cheekies. Then once on the dare page you’re greeted by men of non herculean physique. My eyes, my eyes.
Being the purist that I am, my first inclination in using the site was to create a distinct movement towards non sexual dares. Read a passage of literature from a religion not your own or do 45 jumping jacks. I finally settled on daring people to eat vegetarian for two days.
The site itself is clean, though I have a humble request for consideration in the design. It has a great persona. The messages are cheeky (not like the brazillian cheekies…), but hip, clever, in your face. Each user has Streetcred, I’m currently of NOOB status. Each Dare can be Hyped or Dissed. Then glaring in the face of all the hipness is a button labeled, “Submit.” It’s like the nerd walked into the sorority house. He just doesn’t belong there. Submit is the type of button it is. Every first project in the world uses the word submit. I motion that they pick something a little more hip. I’m not hip myself, (see vague reference of random nerd walking into a sorority house…), so I don’t have a good suggestion for what to replace it with. I’m sure something could be dreamt up by the Make A Dare team though.
Regarding the functionality of the site I have a couple observations as well. As mentioned each dare can be hyped or dissed, but I didn’t see how to sort the dares by number of hypes. They can be sorted by most popular, which presumably is number of page views. Sorting by number of hypes would be helpful as well, since it reflects what people actually thought of the Dare.
I do have one tangential suggestion relating to that. I sometimes question how useful having Hype/Diss type rating systems are. For instance, I often go to the website I-am-bored, which is a listing of random, goofy and interesting content from around the web. They too include the number of page views as well as the rating of the link. I noticed that sometimes the most popular links will have a lower rating. Oftentimes this is legitimate, in that the link is really dumb. But then, people are spending all their time there so how dumb is it, really. I’d like to see a site measure popularity/value strictly based upon user actions rather than by what they say they think. I.e. track which dares were looked at, commented on, or completed, and make that the basis for whether something is considered hyped or dissed. Something to consider, if not for this project then maybe a future one.
Another suggestion is regarding the requirement of video or picture proof. It would be awesome if everyone was willing to upload visual proof of their completed dare, but I’m thinking they might not be. I know for my test dare I browsed the net, took the first semi relevant pic I could find, and uploaded it. Requiring uploads makes it so users to really put themselves out there all at once. My thought is that there should be a path for the user who comes to the site, wants to be somewhat involved, but not jump in two feet first right away. In this case, allowing users to say they completed a dare and leave a written description might be enough to entice them to stick around. Over time they’ll get hooked and realize the only way to get attention is to upload pics, but right at first they may be shy. Let them complete the dare, get a nice little pat on the head, and then lure them in for greener pastures.
Overall Make A Dare shows a lot of promise. Dares are inherently rule breaking, pain causing, substance based, or sexual. The success of the site is based upon whether people actually get involved in the dares and complete them. Therefore I would make the completed dares more prominent, as they’re most likely to be completed again. The most recent dares could be little less front and center, as their quality is hit or miss. Power users will look for them, and newbies won’t be turned off by the blatantly sadistic or repugnant ones. All in all, I dare Make a Dare to make the final touches on their beta site and let it loose on the fine citizens of the internet.