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Share your hobbies and interests.

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      09.01.2010 00:28
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      "HobbyThing.com" is an Internet discussion group. The website was first launched in 2008 and appears to still be in its fledgling stage of development. Alexa traffic research reports it as being primarily composed of British users with 42.5% of the site's traffic originating from computers based in the United Kingdom. This figure is followed by 14% from India and 12.9% from the United States.

      HobbyThing.com aims to join users together by answering the question "what's your thing?". As the domain name may imply, the discussion on this website involves hobbies and the sharing of one's venture in his or her chosen pursuit. The website caters to a variety of activities with some of the more popular hobbies including bus spotting, comic books, dolls, and jewelry making. The website is similar to popular social networking websites in that a user may create a profile, add photos, write journal entries regarding themselves and their hobbies, and networking through the creation of a friends list. Interaction is accomplished through the creation and joining of the several available groups or by participating in the open discussion forum. At the moment, both aspects of the website appear to be hardly used with the more popular of activities only being made up of a few users making simple introductory remarks. The most popular discussion forum is the "Introduce Yourself" category which is currently made up of 54 posts. The next most discussed category is "Promote Your Business" featuring 12 posts.

      The website features a simple graphical interface with a menu system at the top of the page. Here, users may access the more popular sections of the website through a click of the mouse. These sections include "Hobby People" (a list of the newest users), "List of Hobbies" (the directory of available topics for discussion), "Hobby Groups" (more specific discussion targeted at a set topic), "Articles" (the most recently submit articles by users regarding their hobbies), "Photo gallery" (Images pertaining to hobbies), and "Hobby Forum". This menu is held within a grey background and white font which allows immediate visibility within the domain; which is itself based on shades of white, green, blue, and black. I have never experienced any negative usability issues when browsing HobbyThing.com and have found each hyperlink to appropriately redirect to its intended destination.

      I have found HobbyThing.com to be somewhat quick to load and responsive to my command. Independent testing suggests 4.8 seconds are required to load 388 KB when using a broadband connection. I'm not able to immediately identify a cause to this more extended load time but would likely suggest it as being partly due to the dominant graphical interface the website possesses.

      As someone who enjoys discussing hobbies and recreational interests, I have strong hopes for HobbyThing.com. At the moment its popularity appears fixed between a small group of users who themselves don't appear to be significantly active within the community. I like the thought of bridging scattered specialist online communities into one but the conversion process appears to be a slow one. For the time being, I will continue to access my own personal websites of choice but will keep a close eye on what HobbyThing.com becomes.

      If a user has a preferred website of choice related to their activities I wouldn't suggest migrating to HobbyThing at the moment due to the lack of users and lack of community feeling. With time this website may build up into a popular online destination, but at the moment it does not offer suitable competition for a more developed specialist group or online community.

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