Feel like sharing? Two ex-Ebay/Skype execs have created Tokoni, a social story sharing site that they hope will become the web’s virtual “front porch”. The site, which quietly launched last December, hopes to foster a warmer and better connected sharing environment than other similar communities on the web.
Tokoni is essentially a community of connected blogs with a social networking slant. After creating a personal profile, members can write an unlimited number of stories. Each story (which is basically a blog post) can be tagged with keywords and placed in ‘Hubs’, which are essentially groups of related stories. Stories can include embedded images or YouTube videos, and other members are encouraged to leave comments and participate in a discussion at the bottom of each story.
At first glance, Tokoni seems like a pretty half-baked idea. People have been sharing personal stories online since the dawn of Usenet, and allowing members to group stories by topic isn’t exactly a novel feature. Why not use a blog?
Then again, painfully simple ideas have been known to work in the past (YouTube and photobucket come to mind). It’s possible that Tokoni will fill a niche for users that just want to sit down and write without having to deal with blogging software or forums. And the community aspect helps differentiate the site from a blog by allowing writers to quickly find and link to stories posted by others without having to sift through the blogosphere.
Tokoni’s most encouraging assets are its founders. Mary Lou Song was eBay’s third employee, and her husband Alex Kazim has held a laundry list of top positions: Director of Engineering at eBay, President of Skype, SVP of eBay New Ventures, and VP Marketing at PayPal. The site also features a strong list of investors, including eBay Inc and a number of current eBay execs.
Tokoni isn’t the only player in this space. In fact, there are literally thousands (if not more) of sites that are dedicated to story sharing, though many of them revolve around a specific topic or community. Six Apart also offers Vox, a simple blogging service that offers some of the same tagging and group features. Tokoni has an impressive set of credentials, but unless it can find a better way to differentiate itself, its stories will fall on deaf ears.