Details & Back-story:
is the new kid on the block in the social network neighborhood, a Q&A website that seems to me like the forbidden lovechild of Pinterest, Twitter, and Quora. The main content on Balloonduck revolves around users' questions called "requests" and the conversations regarding these requests are intended to be opinion-based rather than factual.
The founders are former UNC students, Vivian Xue and Brandon Thornton, who have been working on the project for about eight months, which just went live today. Xue, who worked on the site's design, withdrew from UNC to work on it full-time.
Unique Points of Difference:
Unlike Pinterest, Quora, Twitter, and Facebook, almost all scrolling in Balloonduck is horizontal, distinguishing the site from other social networks that are mostly vertical. It's a bit counterintuitive at first and it slows down the browsing process, but I wonder if that's part of its charm. Balloonduck seems to be rebelling against the 'quick-and-dirty' culture of social networks.
Critics of Balloonduck say that it's too similar to Quora and Pinterest. However, it's the similarities that make it less intimidating and allow faster adoption by more users. Innovation isn't taking a wrecking ball to all that has come before and implementing a totally new idea. The key principle to successful change is to support existing content and build off of previous schema.
Here's a great example of this in the book, HTML5 For Web Designers
"The French revolution was an era of extreme political and social change. Revolutionary fervor was applied to time itself. For a brief period, the French Republic introduced a decimal time system, with each day divided into ten hours and each hour divided into one hundred minutes. It was thoroughly logical and clearly superior to the sexagesimal system.
Decimal time was a failure. Nobody used it. The same could be said for XHTML 2. The W3C rediscovered the lesson of post-revolutionary France: changing existing behavior is very, very difficult."
As EdLab continues to work toward building a better future for education and a smarter way of schooling, it's an important principle to remember.
On the surface, Balloonduck may seem like just another startup hopping on the social network bandwagon, but at heart, it really is a rebel.