Now, I've been known to puff on a good CAO and Rocky Patel every now and again, but the emphasis on online cigar afficionado social communities is not what really caught my attention or why I'm posting this.
It's the fact that Cigarshout is using a, shall we say, "roll your own" micro-blogging platform call shout 'em. It functions very much like Twitter, but offers a number of features that Twitter doesn't.
When I got to looking around, I found out that there is a plethora of these things, all with equally cute names: Twingr, buzzable and yonkly, to name a few. Add to that business-oriented micro-blogging platforms like Yammer, Present.ly and wiggio and you've got yourself quite a cottage industry growing here. (UPDATE: Let me add SocialText Social Messaging to the list as well.)
Of course, this is nothing new. Every new, popular form of social media software has had its imitators. Think Digg and there's Pligg; Facebook and MySpace spawned Ning; If you go back far enough, you might remember custom search engines like Rollyo and swicki.
None of this is a bad thing. It's all part of the evolution of what we've come to know as the social web. It's also a way of making things more palatable. I mean, try following only a certain category of people in Twitter and you see what I mean. Same with Facebook.
Better than that, it's a way to "set a table of your own" and invite those who are interested in your brand, products, services or industry to join as participants in creating niche communities.
I do try and follow this space very closely, but these caught me by surprise a little bit. (I've got to do a better job of staying on top of TechCrunch and Mashable!)
Regardless, I'd be interested to know your opinion. Have you had experience with any of the above? If so, enlighten us, please.