Integral Life: My First Impressions

Integral Life (beta) just launched today. This has been in the works for some time now, so I’m glad to see that it’s already up and running, with a groovy tag line: “Free to be Fully Human.”

I quickly created an account to experience the look and feel of the site. Below are my first impressions. The site is still officially on beta so I’m going to ignore some of the bugs and focus on the site’s features and overall potential. I’ll start on a positive note.

Likes:

— Site design is easy on the eyes. Navigation is straightforward.

— Excellent welcoming introductions to new members. But unless you’re already familiar with Integral theory, you’d have to dig a little deeper to understand what the site is all about. For that you have to read up on the about section.

— Blogging feature with rich text editing. Dang, another rabbit hole for me to play with 🙂

— Very functional private messaging feature with rich text editing and folders for messages.

— Dynamic community activity page.

— Profile page with aggregated content contribution (e.g. blogs, comments). See my activities on my profile.

— Global search feature. Try this search: http://integrallife.com/search/node/religion

— Vast array of high-quality contents and, more importantly, action items (aka injunctions) categorized into Learn, Apply, and Awaken channels.

Dislikes:

— Although IL makes it clear that there are free and premium contents, the premium contents are not clearly marked. I get annoyed by pop up messages notifying me that I need to upgrade my account whenever I click on premium contents.

— At this time, Integral Life is not a full-pledged social network e.g. no “friending”, no profile privacy settings, no groups, etc. But you can add members as contacts by sending them private messages.

— When you upgrade your account, it doesn’t explicitly say whether the charge is monthly or annual. IL should clearly spell out the premium account during the upgrade process.

So those are my initial impressions. Next are my musings on Integral Life’s business model and its potential role within the Integral Multiplex.

I didn’t see any ads, so it looks like IL’s biz model revolves around subscriptions and selling integral products via the Integral Life Store. Integral Naked has been relatively successful with its subscription model. But the launch of Integral Life makes Integral Naked (and the Multiplex community) redundant.

For example, do I need to upgrade my to Integral Life if I already have a paid subscription to Integral Naked? As much as I would miss it, I’m prepared to give up my Integral Naked account and ride with Integral Life instead.

Integral Life is a much improved version of Integral Naked and the Multiplex community put together. If I-I is to practice what it preaches, then I expect Integral Life to transcend and include Integral Naked and other elements of integral multiplex real soon. Otherwise, there’s just going to be a lot redundancy that would confuse their already niche target demographics.

That’s all for now. Will continue to explore the Integral Life rabbit hole and report back on my “fluffy” adventures.

NOTE: I also posted this review on my Integral Life blog.

UPDATE: I knew it was too good to be true. I was notified by IL admin that only *some* sections on the archive would be free. Whether the free stuff would be only available to basic and premium members, as opposed to non-members, is still unclear to me. I’ve updated my original blog post in line with this new information.

Comments (8)

  1. Awesome… it really helps to get outside impressions. We’ve been focusing so closely on every little thing that we quickly lost important perspective. The criticisms you made will help our feature prioritization process. As you can imagine, we’ve got a _Lot_ of features we need to add; it’s simply a matter of what gets on first. But at least now we get the community’s help in making those decisions. Specifically regarding the Integral Naked vs IL item, transcending and including IN is exactly the move we’re making. If you’re currently a Multiplex and/or IN member, IntegralLife premium membership is an added value that you can have for free. We’re announcing this to all multiplex members this week, and the sign-up process has a special path for multiplex members. Apparently, we need to make this a little more clear; but each day brings a new opportunity to resolve an unforeseen karmic bug. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts re: the new Integral Life model, please let us know if you ever want clarification on any specific questions.
    Robert MacNaughton
    IntegralLife Community

    Monday, August 11, 2008 at 11:10 pm #
  2. annie wrote::

    Hello,
    nice blog. If you have questions about whether IL will transcend and include IN and the multiplex… it will. Most definitely. They are working out the kinks first and don’t want to disorient loyal members, so you can still get all the content by going to the old site if you have any trouble. I think as the kinks get worked out, they will invite progressively larger waves of people over to IL, which will feature IN and other content previously featured onto the multiple, and build on it. As I understand it they are currently building and fortifying the archives on IL (i think they want to create an Integral Library) and as I think you’ll find, this library, the IL archives are a VAST improvement over previous archives. But if you have any specific questions I contact Robert MacNaughton, he’s a great guy and he love to talk community features.

    Be well,
    Annie

    Monday, August 11, 2008 at 11:11 pm #
  3. annie wrote::

    Hilarious! As soon as I posted my comment about Robert being a great contact point, I saw that he already posted. See…. I told you he’s paying attention.

    Rock on,
    Annie

    Monday, August 11, 2008 at 11:13 pm #
  4. annie wrote::

    Hilarious! As soon as I posted my comment about Robert being a great contact point, I saw that he already posted. See…. I told you he’s paying attention.

    Rock on,
    Annie

    Monday, August 11, 2008 at 11:14 pm #
  5. Turil wrote::

    Alas, the “free membership” does not even include the simple ability to participate in the discussions or “inquiry” areas of the community. Kinda lame…

    I won’t be hanging around there I guess then.

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at 9:59 am #
  6. ~C4Chaos wrote::

    Robert, Annie,

    thanks for the quick response. i’ll keep on sharing my thoughts on IL as continue to be a participant observer 🙂

    Turil,

    i hear you. it would be great to have freebie members to have access to discussions too.

    but i understand the rationale behind the decision to give only premium members access to discussions. it’s a way of filtering spams and people who are not that passionate with integral living. the idea is: *people put their money where their heart is.* so it’s more likely that people with premium membership would foster a civilized and engaged discussion. there is some truth to that. spammers and trolls will not infest the site because of the premium barrier.

    however, i’m biased toward social media so i prefer if IL open up the discussion area to free membership. since they are offering blogs anyway wherein anyone can post whatever, then might as well open up the discussions so that everyone can participate. the downside of this, of course, is that IL moderators would have more responsibilities in their hands. community moderation is not for the faint-hearted.

    ~C

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at 3:28 pm #
  7. Hey guys,
    The intention is to have all discussions available for all members (free and premium), the reason they’re currently not allowed for free members is due to a last minute bug where the ratings weren’t rearranging the responses. We want anyone to be able to respond to the inquiries, but the best responses get floated-up to encourage meaningful posting. The comment threads attached to each inquiry response will be typical linear threads where discussions can/should emerge, but the inquiry responses are meant to be in reference to the inquiry(question). This should be working in the next week or so, and we may go ahead and open-up the responses sooner.

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at 3:53 pm #
  8. ~C4Chaos wrote::

    sweet! thanks for the heads up on this. looking forward to participating in the discussions.

    ~C

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at 4:11 pm #