When I first heard about gdgt.com, I thought the startup founded by Peter Rojas and Ryan Block was terribly clever, and right up my alley. The idea of having gadget freaks keep “had”, “have” and “want” lists makes sense both from a user’s perspective and from an advertiser’s. When the website opened to the public I was quick to register and started adding things to my lists. Some stuff that wasn’t in there yet. It was amazing to see how much stuff was entered by users.
But I don’t buy a new gadget every day, so keeping the lists up-to-date doesn’t require me to visit GDGT daily. Considering how Rojas and Block were also involved in Engadget and Gizmodo, I was hoping their new effort would replace both those blogs and become a one-stop shop for technology enthusiasts. So far, at least for me, it hasn’t.
I don’t dislike the way GDGT looks, but it’s not the friendly mess that is Engadget either. Images are small, the color scheme is high-contrast and it all rather looks like a listing, not a magazine. All the elements look great, but the design hasn’t won over my heart, and chances are it won’t.
Another thing I rather like about both the major gadget blogs is the humor. Gizmodo especially has some pretty funny writers. Gadget news can be pretty boring (who cares about yet another point-n-snap camera?), so some comic relief is in order from time to time. Because your GDGT homepage is auto-generated, most of it isn’t funny. And currently, not all of it is relevant to me either. The above screenshot is from my GDGT stream, and I can’t help but wonder how a USB headset ended up on there. I hate those and would never use or buy one.
As a community, the only thing connecting me to other users is possibly owning (or having owned) the same gadgets. I find it a little awkward to befriend someone just because he or she also has an iPod Touch. Unlike with other social networks, very few of the people I know in real life are on GDGT. Basically, I feel lonely :).
So, i guess what it comes down to is that GDGT isn’t a blog, and not a very natural community either. It’s one f those websites I really wanted to love but find myself visiting less and less.