image The name may be short on some vowels, but gdgt is not short on fun if you’re a gadget hound.  As Wikipedia describes it, gdgt is a social networking website that specializes in consumer electronics.  Think of gdgt as Facebook for gadget lovers, rolled together with an interactive inventory list of tech items that you own now, have owned in the past, or want to own in the future.  Sprinkle in news, discussion, information, and social interaction with other owners of those gadgets, and you have gdgt.  Read on for a more detailed description, and then us know in the comments if you use gdgt, or if you think you might give it a try.

The Basics

When you sign up for gdgt, one of the first steps you’ll want to take is to populate your profile with a list of the gadgets you own now, want to own, or have owned in the past.  You can do this by way of a text search, or you can browse by product type or manufacturer name.

 gdgt gadget list

 

If your gadget isn’t in gdgt’s database, you can add it via a submission form on the site (which also allows you to add news items, companies, and terms).  Your submission must be approved, and your item must be in a product category that the site supports.  gdgt  regularly adds categories, and currently supports camcorders, cameras, cellphones, computers, gaming, GPS, handhelds, HDTVs/televisions, headphones, headsets, home theater, monitors, networking, OS/platforms, peripherals, portable media players, and storage.

 

Add product to gdgt database

 

You’ll also want to see if any of your friends are on gdgt.  As with many social networking sites, gdgt lets you search your Gmail contacts, Twitter contacts, and Facebook contacts.  Those friends will then show up in your personal activity stream, so that you can monitor what they do on the site.  You friends page is broken down into three categories – people you follow, people who follow you, and people who you follow and who follow you back.

Once you’ve added gadgets and friends to your profile, the customizable stream of information on the front page of the site will be much more personal to you.  That stream can include information on your friends (including their gadgets, reviews, discussions, and more), information on your gadgets (reviews, updates, links, and discussions), as well as general information such as popular items, staff picks, tips, debates, and more.  You can also find areas of the site dedicated to specific features, such as reviews, news or discussion.

 

Usefulness

I am a bit unusual as a tech geek.  I follow high profile tech items that I don’t own, like the Nexus One, but I generally stay away from sites like Gizmodo and Engadget that focus on the "lust phase" of tech items.  Perhaps I don’t want to be reminded of all of the tech items I’ll never own, or perhaps I’m afraid that those sites will spur me to spend money on items I don’t need.

Gdgt is different.  Although you can add items to your wish list, the focus of gdgt is on the items you already own.  The focus of gdgt is to help users get the most out of their current tech items, until they replace them.

It isn’t hard to envision gdgt becoming the go-to site for prospective purchasers of gadgets.  Who among us doesn’t look to opinions from other users when contemplating a tech purchase?  Gdgt could make that easy.

Gdgt also is useful for staying on top of news about the tech items that you already own.  Whether it be tips, news, or discussion, gadget can be a central repository of information.  Of course, gdgt is only as useful as the information supplied by its users, but that is the case with any user review site.

Like any social networking site, gdgt’s real fun and usefulness comes from interaction with others.  That’s one area where I’ve been lacking.  As with sites like Twitter, most of my real life friends don’t use gdgt, so you’ll see that my friend’s list is quite small.  As a result, I don’t visit gdgt as much as I would if I had a robust network of friends there.  If you’re joining gdgt, and looking to expand your friend list, you can find me on gdgt as "Cyberskier."  Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that gdgt lets you change your username once chosen, so select one with care.

 

Concerns

Using gdgt raises the same concerns as those raised by the use of any social network – privacy and safety.  As with Twitter, you’re putting part of your life out there for the world to see.  Arguably, gdgt puts you more at risk, as you’re showing potential criminals what tech items you might have in your home.  If that is a concern, though, you can change your settings so that only your friends (or even no one) can view your profile.

Another risk of gdgt could be a good thing, depending on your point of view.  Although gdgt doesn’t focus on new items, you will be seeing what items your friends own and purchase, and that could create a case of "gadget envy."  Any tech geek knows what can happen to your bank account when a case of gadget envy sets in.

 

Conclusion

Gdgt can be addictive, and also very useful.  I use it in spurts, but imagine that it would become part of my daily routine if I expanded my friends list.

Are you using gdgt?  What do you think?  If you’re not a user, do you plan to give it a look?