Digital Culture

Yahoo Mash

Yahoo recently launched a new beta service,, which seems to be their attempt to enter the social networking fray.

Similar in style to iGoogle, you have blocks of content (modules) that are available to add to your page. These act as you expect AJAX sorts of pages to work: you can drag and drop them around your two-column layout. To customize your page you can also add a background image (similar to Twitter) and manage the colors of your modules (background, border, text). All the expected modules are around: Flickr, Twitter, a generic RSS module.

Here’s where it gets weird. Your friends, by default, can edit your page…move modules around, etc. They can also affect it in other ways…one of the default modules is a “pet” (represented by a line drawing) that you can interact with…feed, pet, etc. You can also lick, smack, kill, and snorgle it. And you can do so to other people’s as well.

In the end, this ends up being a sort of aggregator for your virtual life, but others have tried that ( and failed to gather speed online. The addition of a social networking component to that is interesting, but I’m not sure whats gained other than the potential strength of viral growth from spread from friend-to-friend.

It’s interesting to see what Yahoo is doing here, trying to leverage their way into the social networking world. They own two of the most popular (and most original) social sites on the ‘net… and flickr. I would expect them to do more cross-pollination, but at the same time I hope they don’t. and flickr are two of my favorite things online, and I don’t want to see them change too much. I’m already frightened by the upcoming delicious 2.0.

If anyone wants an invite, leave your email in the comments.

By griffey

Jason Griffey is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at NISO, where he works to identify new areas of the information ecosystem where standards expertise is useful and needed. Prior to joining NISO in 2019, Jason ran his own technology consulting company for libraries, has been both an Affiliate at metaLAB and a Fellow and Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and was an academic librarian in roles ranging from reference and instruction to Head of IT at the University of TN at Chattanooga.

Jason has written extensively on technology and libraries, including multiple books and a series of full-periodical issues on technology topics, most recently AI & Machine Learning in Libraries and Library Spaces and Smart Buildings: Technology, Metrics, and Iterative Design from 2018. His newest book, co-authored with Jeffery Pomerantz, will be published by MIT Press in 2024.

He has spoken internationally on topics such as artificial intelligence & machine learning, the future of technology and libraries, decentralization and the Blockchain, privacy, copyright, and intellectual property. A full list of his publications and presentations can be found on his CV.
He is one of eight winners of the Knight Foundation News Challenge for Libraries for the Measure the Future project (, an open hardware project designed to provide actionable use metrics for library spaces. He is also the creator and director of The LibraryBox Project (, an open source portable digital file distribution system.

Jason can be stalked obsessively online, and spends his free time with his daughter Eliza, reading, obsessing over gadgets, and preparing for the inevitable zombie uprising.

One reply on “Yahoo Mash”

First, thanks for inviting me to the fray. I dig it a bit and agree with you on all your concerns. The one thing I don’t like about it (other than you’re forray into making my crap pink … thank you very much) is there’s no blog function just for Mash. I thought it might be a neat place to just file my personal musings since my blog is more professionally geared (more solutions on that coming, of course). Feeding my RSS to Mash is nice (though I couldn’t get it to work) but Let me leave more than just Twitter-esque entires for folks to see.

If I missed a widget that does this, let me know. I’m looking forward to continuing the tinker, though.

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