When the internet took off in the late 90’s, it was a rather bland virtual realm, filled with lots of information, but no real backbone to discover it all. To be frank, it was a bit of a mess. Then came the search engines like Google, helping to organize the content found on the net. However, something was still missing. That missing link was a social aspect to it all, something that could tie everything together. ‘Web 2.0,’ as it’s often referred to, started with MySpace and Facebook in the mid 2000’s, expanded to Twitter and Pinterest, and has since taken the internet by storm. A majority of the content I find, is on social media. In my opinion, without it, the internet would be a bore.
Now you may be asking yourself, “Why is Brian giving us an internet history lesson?”
Well, this all ties into the recent news coming from the 3D printing service and design platform, Shapeways. This week, they announced a big addition to their marketplace, ‘Shapeways Social’. Shapeways Social is an extension of the marketplace which allows users to follow their favorite designers on on the platform. Users will now have access to a personal feed of curated content from all the designers that they choose to follow. What this does, is add a major social aspect to the Shapeways’ marketplace.
To get started, just click the ‘My Feed‘ link in the top navigation bar. At first, you will see a global feed, which will show random actions taken by other Shapeways members. The feed can slowly become personalized by simply following the designers and stores that you like best.
Whether you want to start following those who you have bought from in the past, or designers which you feel can inspire your own designs, the ‘follow’ feature is very simple to use. Look for the link within any product page on the designer’s card, right under their username and the contact link. When clicked, you will instantly add that designer to your stream. Whenever they upload a new design or update something on their profile, this will now be displayed in your curated feed. The ‘follow’ link can also be found within a the top banner of a designer’s shop. If you have accidentally followed a designer, or no longer wish to follow them, just click the follow link once more and they will be removed from your stream.
The look and feel of these new additions to the Shapeways’ marketplace reminds me a lot of the social picture sharing site Pinterest.com. I’ve tried it out and am pleasantly surprised at how well the new features works. I have already found several cool new products to check out, which I would never have seen without following people and then checking up on my feed.
As for designers, this will certainly add an interesting new element to their businesses, as those designers who sell the most and create the most interesting models, will likely receive the largest following, and hence sell even more products. Social media can be a boon for those who use it correctly. I am sure many designers will take advantage of these new features on Shapeways.
Are you a designer, or a Shapeways power user? Let’s hear what you think about the new changes which have just been implemented. Discuss in the Shapeways Social forum thread on 3DPB.com.
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