Exploring Jelly – 2014’s First New Social Platform

Earlier this week Biz Stone released Jelly, a mobile application that allows for visual Q&A with your extended social network. Stone describes it as a search engine that “uses photos and people from your social networks to get you answers.”

How It Works

Here’s an example of how I used Jelly today:

Jelly Question - What book should I read?

I received three answers within a minute, and about 10 within an hour. Nine hours later, I’ve received 24 answers…some of which are useful. Many people offered relevant book titles of the same genre. Others told me to get a life and read a novel, and yet another told me to stop trying to sell books on Jelly. (I wasn’t selling books, but Jay or Gary, if you guys want to start a Jelly affiliate program, let me know.) Because Jelly uses not only my Facebook and Twitter network, but also my second-degree connections on those networks, my question was posed to many likeminded people, some of whom I hadn’t interacted with before. Since I follow Jay on Twitter, this question actually appeared to a lot of our mutual connections. Those were especially relevant answers.

I was also able to answer a couple of questions. As is to be expected, there are a lot of useless questions on Jelly right now as people try out the app for the first time. I admit, while sitting at my desk I struggled to come up with a relevant question to ask. Paging through available questions right now, someone posted a picture of their liquor cabinet and asked if they should have a gin or vodka tonic. That doesn’t take advantage of Jelly’s value—it’s just noise. When you click the little arrow in the top right corner of a post, you can choose “I don’t like this,” and presumably the app will learn more about the type of questions you want to see. I’m hopeful that regular use of this feature will soon rid my Jelly of useless questions.

I see Jelly being useful when I’m traveling and can’t identify a landmark, or I’m gardening and need to know if the bug on my plant is harmful. To use Jelly effectively, ask a question about something in a picture—how it works, what it is, what you can do with it, where you can buy it… Don’t just ask a random question and add a stupid picture with it. That’s not adding value to the network.

Jelly For Brands

Now, I know marketers reading this are wondering what their business should be doing on Jelly. I actually used Jelly to dispense this advice today, when I ran across this question:

How Should Brands Use Jelly?

How Brands Should Use Jelly

Of course, I see plenty of opportunity for businesses. If they’ve amassed a following of relevant consumers (yup, buying fans/followers will bite you in the butt with this one), they could check in frequently to see if there are any industry-related questions that can be answered. As far as a content strategy on Jelly…I’d hesitate to use it for anything promotional. If you want to authentically ask questions of people as market research or product feedback, that may be acceptable…but ads will be seen in poor taste on Jelly. And before you jump in as your brand, give people a chance to figure out how this is going to work for them.

Additional Reading

The Jelly release was covered by TechCrunch and Gigaom. For more in-depth musings on what what Jelly might mean, check out Stowe Boyd’s essay.

 What are your initial thoughts about Jelly?

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