Runners’ Lounge – Social Networking For Runners
Social networking sites are the perfect forum for runners – running is a social activity, it’s easily accessible, it has a large number of passionate participants, and its community thrives on exchanging resources.
As the site states:
Runners’ LoungeTM is a social running web site dedicated to three goals:
- Supporting runners, running communities, and running resources
- Running conversations, resources, and expressing the voice of ordinary runners.
- Focusing on increasing the enjoyment and success of running for all levels and partner with organizations interested in the development of running
Other running sites provide conventional functions. However, Runners’ LoungeTM provides a unique, comprehensive package of capabilities to create a special meet-up place for runners to hang out, talk about running, form “runnerships,” and join the running community to more fully enjoy running.
I’m always a little reluctant to say a something is ‘a first’ in a category and I’m asking for trouble here, but to my knowledge this is the first online running network of its kind.
- Complete Running Network – perhaps the closest competitor – incorporates some great social components (Flickr, over 1,300 blogs, widgets and more) but still focuses more on news than people
- Runners’ World, while a fantastic resource, revolves around the magazine of the same name
- Breaking The Tape seems to have less depth – it is still user-driven, but I find it primarily useful as a training tool at present.
This is a site I can genuinely enthuse about – it merges running and social media, which are two topics about which I’m both passionate and still learning (hence my two blogs, which I’m cross-posting this on).
I like a lot of the lounge’s fundamental features:
- A focus on connections, not news, and allowing users to form self-defined groups
- A dependence on contributions from members in the form of tips, resources, articles and events
- An embrace of multiple media, including podcasts (although at this point none have been posted)
- A wonderful graphic design – just looking at it relaxes me
For now, the site is still effectively in its beta stage – phase two of development is on the way – so I’m happy to overlook small problems. However, for the site to compete with some of the above-mentioned goliaths, I think it needs to introduce several new features:
- Users should arrive at a more useful page after logging in – an updates, a summary page or an inbox would work
- More intuitive ways to contact people – the ‘My Comments’ profile section is too obscure and buried for a Facebook wall-type function that should be central to users, and there’s no private messaging
- Greater use of ‘social’ technology – RSS feeds for everything, widgets to push content out to other sites, support for other forms of media (e.g. YouTube video, Flickr photos), etc
If the site introduces features like these while tweaking the existing problems, the other key ingredient – people – should come over time. I’m excited about this site, and I’d love to see it catch on.
One last thing – please – never use the word “runnerships” again.