Facebook’s no blogging platform, but Tumblr is and it’s eating the social network’s young. If Facebook wants to host our digital lives, it needs richer sharing. That’s Storylane’s specialty, so Facebook’s acqhire of its team sounds like a smart staff-up. The startup’s Chief Executive Story Teller Jonathan Gheller and crew could convince us to share our quick memes and long opinions on Facebook.
You see the kids, they love Tumblr. Internet savvy folks do, too. Customization, big images, animated GIFs, and the option to write something longer if necessary. It all makes Facebook’s status update box seem a bit confining. Timeline may your life history, but most people don’t splay their scrapbook all over their coffee table. Facebook needs a better home for people who care a little bit more about what and how they share.
Wait wait wait. What about Facebook Notes? Well, when was the last time you saw someone share a note? That’s because Facebook buried them when it switched to Timeline 18 months ago and the product has been growing moldy in the dark ever since.
Storylane and Gheller could bring fresh life to Facebook’s blogging intentions. Storylane launched in October 2012, and our own Anthony Ha’s coverage explains that Gheller wanted it to be “the home for personal thoughts and stories that go deeper than a quick Facebook or Twitter update.” It’s great place for memories, poetry, and personal manifestos. Storylane would even try to inspire you with prompts like “What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?” or “What hobbies do you enjoy the most?”
You know who else started trying to creatively (or creepily) prompt you to share? Facebook. “How are you feeling, Josh?”, “What did you learn today?”, “What’s your favorite Halloween memory?”. No wonder Gheller and his four employees were keen to join forces with Facebook, who’s picking up just Storylane’s talent, not its product or data.
Tumblr’s success won’t be easy to create inside Facebook’s walled garden. Most Tumblr posts are public and it’s heavy on re-blogging — both which are not Facebook’s forte. It’s also about sharing to people who want to subscribe specifically to your blog or come find you, not about blasting posts to everyone you’ve ever met. Facebook and the Storylaners (terrible band name) would need to find the right distribution scheme for Facebook blog posts.
If it can make it work, though, it’d add a powerful publishing style to its repertoire. And it could win back some of the youth it admits are slipping elsewhere.
First thing’s first, Facebook has to start rendering animated GIFs. The Tumblr kids (and adults) can’t get enough of ’em.