Here’s the article’s 3×5 card explanation of what the app does:
The idea is like taking Facebook and stripping down all parts of the social network except for the parts where you share privately among clearly defined groups. Or if Google+ allowed everyone in your circle to post to that same circle. The idea is to keep things insular and private. There’s no way to blast updates to the whole world like Twitter, and there’s no friending or unfriending. You can create or join various groups—close friends, family, coworkers, Ars Technica staffers, cousins, etc.—and post a variety of content to those “boards” as a way to keep each other up-to-date. According to Sepia Labs, Glassboard is supposed to be a digital boardroom.
I’ve been “playing” with Glassboard since it was an early, very bugly app over a year ago. When I first started using it, it was clunky and crashed all the time and it was hard to comprehend why I’d need it. But that also describes almost all the things online that turn out to be something significant. (Unfortunately, it also describes lots of stuff that turns out to always be buggy and makes no sense.)
Now, it’s all stable and pretty. And Ars Technica is saying nice things about it.
However, what makes Glassboard special (to me) are Brent Simmons and Nick Bradbury, the guys behind Glassboard. Nick is a fellow Tennessean (he now lives in Knoxville, but was my Nashville geek-bro for a long time).
For years, I used Brent’s NetNewsWire as my primary RSS newsreader. Nick’s FeedDemon was (is) to Windows what NetNewsWire was to the Mac platform. In 2005, I took photo (a really bad photo shot with my Treo) of Brent and his wife, Shelia, along with Nick and Dave Winer and described it as the RSS Hall of Fame.
There is so much that we do today under the banner of “social media” (the “user-focused” posting of content and subscribing to feeds) that is built on both the conceptual and technical foundations of RSS and what developers and users did with it using early readers like Dave’s Radio UserLand (both a blogging platform and a newsreader) and Nick’s FeedDemon and Brent’s NetNewsWire.
The best thing, however, is that all three of these people are still working on better ways to build on the foundation they helped to create for people like me to use to do things that I continue to discover after a period of “playing.”
Sidenote: The tab you see at the top of my blog that says “LinkBlog” goes to a page that is powered by a project Dave has been working on that he’s allowing me to play with.