Posts Tagged ‘twincities’

Metromix Twin Cities Debuts

metromix twin cities

Metromix Twin Cities. Any minute now. Probably tomorrow (Wednesday).

The Metromix network already operates in a number of cities. I’ve always gotten the impression that it was pretty popular in Chicago and maybe in New York, but other than that hadn’t heard much about it. Metromix Twin Cities is “mixed locally” by KARE11, though it looks exactly the same as all the other Metromix sites.

The premise is it’s your go-to site for entertainment/stuff to do. They cover restaurants, bars and clubs, events, music, movies and tv. So “stuff to do” doesn’t necessarily mean “places to go.”

Content

They’ve got a calendar like everyone else, though they do highlight “Metromix Picks.” What I like here is for each event listing they’ve got a map of nearby things in various categories. So if you’re looking to go to tomorrow night’s Twins game against the White Sox or “Show us your Mussels!” at Barbette, you can see what restaurants, bars and clubs, movie theaters, shopping, and theaters are nearby. Helps you plan other aspects of your evening, maybe provides a landmark or two, might even give you that “Oh, that’s where that is!” moment.

All the movie and tv stuff is syndicated. A lot of the music stuff is as well. Nothing new and exciting there.

They have reviews of local restaurants (I like the accompanying photo galleries), “things to do” gimmicky stories, and a Suburban Spotlight feature.

The part that I hate the most is the Video/Photo section, halfway down the center of the main page. The photos are full of twenty-somethings in downtown bars like drink. And then the videos. The videos are straight out of Access Hollywood. With the cuts and the zooms and the graphics and the music and the hostess. Kill me now.

Features

Users can submit reviews of CDs, movies, and tv shows. Standard range of per-story tools like emailing, sharing via a bunch of services, bookmarking, and something called “add to playlist” which I mistakenly assumed meant you could create some sort of playlist because I first noticed it while looking at a CD review. Wrong. It just means you… make a list. Doesn’t seem to be any more to it than that. Maybe it’s your favorites list? The FAQ calls it a “social playlist” and suggests you “[b]uild your play list to match your plans for the weekend.”

Speaking of the FAQ, this part caught my eye:

Q: Do I have to sign my life away to view the site?
A: No registration is necessary to view the content on the site. Registering is only required to post written reviews and upload pictures and such. And of course you can sign up for rss feeds for up-to-date info sent directly to you.

“Sign up” for RSS feeds? I’m being nitpicky here, but that’s not quite how that works. That on top of the whole “we’re impossibly cool and we’re going to keep telling you until you believe it” vibe. Blech. Although, to their credit, there is some granularity in the RSS feeds so you can choose which content you want to receive.

Verdict

I like that it’s “Metromix Twin Cities” and not “Minneapolis” or “Minneapolis Saint Paul” or “Minneapolis-St. Paul” or whatever.

Looking at the more mature Chicago and New York sites, it looks like the TC version could evolve as content develops. The fact that it could possibly wander away a little from its cookie cutter implementation is a good thing. I’ll keep an eye on it for a little bit only because I know some of the writers.

It’s competing against SotanLIFE which has the benefit of being by the people for the people; City Pages which, crusty as it is, has been doing this for a long while; Citysearch which just plain sucks even if Molly Priesmeyer is the editor; and vita.mn which has all of the above except the obnoxious video with more original content and local flair and with strong emphasis on its user features (which are pretty cool).

A little bit of neato factor in some of the features isn’t enough to make the site as a whole compelling. They’ll be getting the hard pimpage from KARE11. They better have some seriously awesome, exclusive content to go with it.

[also see Ed Kohler’s sneak peek]

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