Sometimes it’s a simple idea along with an equally simple execution that creates a great user value as a web service. That’s exactly you have in a newly released service called Formspring. You create a profile in a minute and then it allows users to ask you questions that you can selectively choose to answer and display publicly. Yes a simple concept and execution but it’s awesome.
I found out about it yesterday after seeing friends Drew Olanoff and Derrick Jefferson send out tweets about the service. I have to think that the inspiration for this may have come from the Facebook phenomenon where people shared 25 random things about themselves. The difference is that for those of us that participated in that little experiment (myself included) we selectively chose those things. Formspring offers a simple interface to let others choose the questions, even anonymously. Then the user can decide which ones to answer and display publicly.
Here’s a video explaining the service in under a minute
Other features the site offers are some simple design backgrounds you can use or upload an image of your own. A widget you can place wherever you want to accept questions from anywhere. And from a Lifestreaming syndication perspective you can choose to link your Formspring account to Tumblr, Twitter, Blogger or Facebook. Unfortunately an RSS feed isn’t available which would allow more flexible sharing for a Lifestream. Another interesting design choice is that you can follow people but they don’t display that information for anyone to see. While doing that on other services that encourage ego boosting by gaining large numbers of followers might make sense, I don’t see that issue here and unfortunately it backfires as I find follower lists a useful way to discover new people.
Overall this is a great idea which I’m sure will offer us even more insight into the lives of our friends in the form of truth or dare…without the dare to those of us willing to play.
Go ahead…ask me anything