Buddystumbler looks to be a good site to meet people with similar interests. I think this service has a lot going for it in that it is simple and to the point along with one of the simplest sign ups and set ups that I have ever seen. I especially like the idea of tagging yourself for others to find.
When I landed on this page I was not sure what to make of it. But it gets straight to the point. A search box with a few operators to choose from. Such as male or female and age range. The search is something a bit different in that you are not searching for a name but rather by keyword, for potential friends. I thought it was a lot like tagging, tagging people. I searched for podcasting and podcast, I was disappointed to find that there were none. But then the site is fairly new and in beta. So not populated with the volume needed, yet.
But I like the idea. I don’t have that much time to keep up with the on-line contacts that I do have let alone create some more. But if you unlike me are looking for new friends then this is a great idea. The idea of searching for keywords or tags to find friends is an interesting concept. This is related to the sign up which allows you to write a brief description and then tag yourself as many times as you think necessary. Keywords that identify your interests, hobbies, personality and whatever else you can think up. You then input your username or names from Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL or all of them.
The meeting bit involves the exchange of IM names only and both parties have to agree. No other information other than the instant messenger user name you designate is exchanged. The rest is up to the people involved to chat via their respective IM clients. I think this is smart because the site has done the job and you pursue a friendship or contact away from the service. The inclusion of a shoutbox on your profile helps get things started if you don’t necessarily want to exchange usernames straight away. It does sound a bit like an on-line dating service, potentially it could end up like that but hopefully not.
Say I was new to podcasting and I wanted to find some new friends that would talk podcasting with me and give me some support in my new venture. This would be a great place to potentially find someone like that. This process is actually quite difficult otherwise and requires a fair bit of effort. You can search other places, email other podcasters and use services like Skype and search for users with descriptions that interest you. But this cuts to the chase and makes that a whole lot easier. The other advantage is that users of this service are expecting people to want to meet them and are more likely to respond. Better than the effort of an email which might result in being ignored.
The only way that this service is going to get better is for it to be populated, at present it is a bit limited. With the IM services having their fair share of spammers and idiots I can really see people needing and wanting this type of service. With that I think once the word gets out this will appeal to certain users and groups. Slick interface with a simple premise and ease of use it has appeal.