UK based Bloombla combines Twitter style updates with past tense story telling in a short format, for a service I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything quite like before.
The core premise of Bloombla is a statement starting with “I’ve.” Users enter what they’ve done before, for example I’ve been to the United States, or I’ve eaten a Wagyu steak. Interestingly (or perhaps strangely), the service forces the structure of your story, with the first two words after I’ve having to come from their list (it auto prompts possibles as you type), with only the end statement free for input. You also can’t change the I’ve, so you can’t say I’m, as I found out when my first entry on Bloombla ended up reading “I’ve annoyed at having to match words in Bloombla.”
There is some reasoning around the forced entries, besides wanting to annoy users. Each entry is matched against existing entries, and common entries get a cumulative vote, for example 15 people on the site currently have posted “I’ve been to Italy.” Like Twitter, there’s also a social aspect to the site, complete with feeds from friends, so you can track what your friends have done previously as well.
I get the niche. Users like sharing what they’ve done before, and you see these sorts of statements on blogs, social networking sites, and even services such as FriendFeed. I get that they are trying to make a centralized destination for these sorts of statements, and certainly I can see some novelty value in using it. What I don’t get though is the business case: how many times are people going to want to share “I’ve done xyz” or “I’ve drunk a bottle of Vodka today” in past tense on an ongoing basis on the one site, when they can easily share the same things on regular services that don’t force a restriction on what they say.