June 14, 2012
Have you ever wanted to create a home page for yourself on the web, but were too busy tweeting and updating Facebook to do it? Rebel Mouse has an ingenious solution.
The site creates an attractive home page for you based on your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Instagr.am and Tumblr will soon be integrated as well.
A main post dominates and the rest float around it Pinterest-style. You can move the articles so that the ones you think are most important get the best play. You can delete some of the embarrassing ones, and freeze some in place if you think they deserve to stay awhile — after all, Rebel Mouse is constantly updating itself. You can also do some editing if, for example, you don’t like the caption that Rebel Mouse automatically provides.
Another nice touch is that you can add a “Stick This” button in the bookmarks bar of your browser, and add pretty much any story you want — with your choice of any picture on the page. In this regard, it is almost exactly the same as Pinterest.
For the most part it works great, but I do have some quibbles.
First of all, I made the mistake of adding the #kamloops hashtag to the Twitter feed in the Rebel Mouse dashboard. It turns out that spammers have attached themselves to virtually every hashtag imaginable, so I wound up with a bunch of pornographic images that I had to go through and delete. My suggestion to Rebel Mouse is that they allow Twitter searches, which are able to filter out objectionable material.
Another thing I would like to see is the ability to change the name of your Rebel Mouse page. I’m currently stuck with “newsonaut” because I signed up using my @newsonaut Twitter account. I decided to create a page made up of news from Kamloops using the kamnews Twitter and Facebook accounts. So it would be nice to be able to change the name of the page to something like Rebel Kamloops. You can see my early attempts here. Update: I figured out how to edit the name of the page. Still, it would be nice to have the URL change to reflect this. Also, I’d like to be able to change the picture that goes with it.
All in all, Rebel Mouse is off to a promising start. I can easily see people creating pages and referring their friends to them as a sort “news of my life” website.
Note: Rebel Mouse is still in beta, so you’ll have to sign up for an invitation if you want to take part.
Update suggestion: With a vertical photo, the main article looks nice and splashy, but with a horizontal photo taking up the same two columns it looks cramped. How about spreading articles with horizontal photos across three columns to give them equal splash.