WorldlyPeople: A social network for intrepid travelers

I was reading article in the New Yorker the other day about the rise of e-books, and discovered that 40% of Americans have read one book or less in the past twelve months (you know who you are.)  Yikes.  These people, I would venture to say, are not worldly people.  But I do not judge; I, more than anyone, like a good meal at Applebee’s, but I think that’s where our similarities end.  Because I, rather, *am* a worldly person.  This is why I like – brace yourselves – WorldlyPeople, a social network for travelers, and – dare I say it – the 60% of Americans who read more than one book a year.

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WorldlyPeople is a nifty hybrid of the social networking components of Facebook (is that still around?) with the on-the-ground, straight-from-the-traveling-horse’s-mouth commentary of TripAdvisor.  Toss is some eHarmony (or whatever) action – who wouldn’t want to find a like-minded traveling soul mate? – and you got WorldlyPeople.  It takes a bit of each, but to these worldly eyes, is wholly unique.  Like a bouillabaisse.  So let’s – in the words of my now-disgraced former CEO of my old job – “double-click” and take a “deeper dive,” shall we?

The home page is nice and clean and welcoming; something about that lime green color really captures my imagination (perhaps because as a young child, our “Family Clown,” Noodles, wore a lime green wig.*)  We are greeted with seven tabs which I shall now talk to you about:

  • Home – Hello, just talked about it!! (duh.)
  • Profile – After I signed up, I got to work on my profile.  It was here I could do all sorts of nifty things like write a blog, create a group, upload a song, create a quiz, or share a video.  I could find friends, chec out bulletins by other users, and see who’s birthday was coming up.  There was also a “What’s New” section which is, I guess, a kin to Facebook’s “wall.”
  • Mail – You got it – check your mail.
  • Friends – Check out your friends, invite them, scan for birthdays, or create birthday cards!
  • Browse – Indeed, browse for people.  You can also set your browsing criteria (gender, ages, location.)
  • Invite – Indeed again, invite other people to WorldlyPeople.
  • Explore – Here you can check out blogs, photos, forums, bulletins, and other stuff.

A couple of suggestions:

  • On the welcome/dashboard page  – after I joined WorldlyPeople – I was taken to a page where I was told some basics about the site; specifically around how they value privacy.  This was very comforting and a nice touch.  One suggestion would be to break up the text a bit in multiple paragraphs to make it easier on the eyes.  I’d also bold things like “Safety and Privacy,” “Focus,” “Options,” and “Fun.”
  • From a Web copy perspective, I’d also devote more verbage to the travel-related component of the site.  The idea of WorldlyPeople acting as a social network for travelers can really set it apart from other networking sites.  The site does this, for example, on the Forum page, with topics such as Places You Have Been and Places Where You Want to Go.

In fact, I’d try to take it a step further – or at least incorporate travel wherever possible.  For example, if you were to browse featured members, you see their name, gender, age, etc.  It’d be cool it also said their “Favorite Places” and “Places I Want to Go.”  That way – and this is where the dating stuff comes into play – one could search for people accordingly: if my favorite place is, say, Guerneville, CA (it’s up there), how cool would it be to find like-minded people?  And if I want to travel to, say, Bali, and I find someone who’s favorite place is Bali, then well, that’s just magic in the making.  So it could get pretty epic.  WorldlyPeople is new, but as far as their target market is concerned – smart, sophisticated, intelligent people, the foundation is wonderful, and possibles for travel, trysts, and…ehh…Tanzania are endless.

* It wasn’t until I was 28 that I found out “Noodles” was, in fact, post-rehab Uncle Ivan.