When you hear someone say they’re creating the “MySpace of boomers, bakers or self-portrait makers,” it’s probably your cue to go read a good book. The real talk of the Net is the emergence of smaller communities formed around specific passions—for people who like to make things, or dig vampires or love cats and dogs (the latter two communities created by Ted Rheingold, whose presentation on passion-centric communities is required reading for anyone creating one). All this is especially on my mind right now as arguably the year’s most important month in the couch potato’s calendar has arrived: March Madness. And appropriately timed to college hoops mania is the just-launched RUWT? (Are you watching this?), a new community created around the singular obsession of watching sports on TV (tagline: “How many instant classics have you missed?). Mission: keep you from missing instant classics like last night’s double OT barnburner between Dallas and Phoenix.
Here’s how it works. Users alert the community about games they’re watching (or are looking forward to soon), and the more people click to say that Gonzaga and Indiana are in a squeaker, the higher the game moves on RUWT’s board (so you know to change the channel ASAP). The site’s new and no doubt will change as the community desires, but there are scores (pun intended; sorry) of great options already, including a Firefox add-on that keeps track of live games as you surf the Web, alerts that notify you when when “an instant classic in the making” rises to the top of the site’s ratings, and videos from recent games. RUWT is like SportsCenter meets ESPN.com meets Digg—in other words, a great mashup of some of the best in new tech tools in this Web 2.0 world. And if you don’t care about everything in that previous sentence, think of RUWT this way: sports junkie paradise.