Proud to share your Lego building skills, but your Facebook “friends” can’t seem to press Like or tweet about it? Well, you might simply be addressing the wrong crowd! Luckily for you, Lego has just initiated ReBrick, its own social media platform for fans ages 13 and up.
Released Dec. 15 2011, the Danish toymaker could have launched it as a New Year thing, but decided to reward longtime fans by tipping them (us) early on about it. The main purpose of ReBrick — which is not about products made by the Lego Group, according to Online Community Lead Peter Espersen — is to be a hub for all Lego-based creations and projects made by the Lego fan community.
Several websites dedicated to the Lego fan community already exist and count large numbers of users, such as MOCPages, Brickshelf and Brothers Brick, and it is not the intention of ReBrick to replace them. It is quite the opposite, actually: ReBrick would act as a gateway to all Lego fan sites by providing an index and user-friendly access to the latest and greatest user-made creations.
ReBrick did not come as a surprise for the main actors in the Lego community scene, since the Lego Group has naturally created this platform in collaboration with them, as a reward for a long-term devotion and to learn from their experiences in other online communities. The name of the platform was decided together with the Lego fans, and the word “brick” — usually used by the fans as an alternative for the trademarked Lego name — does not leave much doubt about this.
The backbone of the ReBrick platform is the ability for users to add bookmarks to the site. It comes down to adding the URL of a given page and sharing its multimedia content on the ReBrick pages, much like a Facebook share widget.
As actions speak better than words, I gave a try to the platform by sharing some of my own creations. Having some of my work on a Flickr account, it did not take me too long to get it shared on ReBrick. While some proprietary platforms and plug-ins for picture galleries may still need to be supported, all in all the most common technologies are available. It should then be fairly simple to bookmark and share pretty much any web page containing relevant image content on ReBrick. As a matter of fact, you could also share this very post on it. Talking about content relevancy, while the house rules are fairly gentle, the website is still actively moderated, mostly by users who can flag inappropriate bookmarks/content but also to some extent by Lego people who enforce house rules.
According to Espersen, more than 500 people from inside and outside the Lego Group have helped shape this social media hub, from the site design and development to the house rules. Whether you are a GeekDad-grade Lego fan, a newbie or an education professional, you will certainly find in there some impressive pieces of work.
While a first version is now released, the Lego Group and the fan community will keep working hand-in-hand on the next features of this ever-evolving platform.
[This article, by Max Castera, was originally published on Thursday. Please leave any comments you may have on the original.]