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Mar 22, 2011 5:17:20 PM
Timelines are about to get attention! Public Post

My “Later” storyline is where I put stories from other people to look at later. It’s a private storyline, marked with an orange lock, but many of my storylines are public.

Facebook today announced a forthcoming feature that, like Intersect, lets people pull together highlights from their lives and present them chronologically.

The “Timelines” feature is step forward for Facebook, which seems to finally recognize that people have pasts that matter. There’s more to you than what you said or did today.

Importantly, it organizes information not by when it was posted but by when it happened. Posts on a timeline are a bit less of a conversation, and more of a record or history. Facebook users should appreciate this, as Intersect users already do.

But Facebook’s timeline feature falls far short of Intersect in important respects. As best we can tell, Facebook offers you only one timeline, it doesn’t appear to let you borrow content from other people, it doesn’t have Intersect’s interesting and entertaining ways of exploring time and place, and it doesn’t let you discover lives and stories that intersect with yours.

We think Facebook’s timeline feature will give people a taste of how compelling and useful timelines can be. We hope that as people come to appreciate the pleasure and utility of information wrapped in the context of the time it happened, that many will try Intersect—which offers a lot more and yet is very simple to use. Nobody has to give up Facebook to use Intersect; the two work hand-in-hand.

Intersect recognizes that in real life you choose and tell your stories differently for different audiences. Some stories you share publicly, others you share with friends, others with colleagues, and so forth. You share stories about your life, but you also have stories about vacations, jobs, businesses, or causes.

Intersect reflects real life. It gives you as many storylines as you like. Each is a timeline that you can dedicate to a topic or audience or both. When you post photos, video or text, you assign the story to a storyline. You can then borrow the story to as many additional storylines as you like. This is a simple idea, with rich implications.

I have several storylines at https://www.intersect.com/peter. One, called “Peter Rinearson,” is a public storyline. This story is on it. I also have other public storylines called “Travel” (for stories from the road), “I’m a Fan” (for stories I particularly like by other people), and “World Events” (for my occasional comment on big issues). Anybody can look at these public storylines, which have different purposes.

I also have a variety of private storylines, including “Friends” and “Family.” You won’t see these storylines at https://www.intersect.com/peter unless I’ve added you to the audience for these storylines. I also have storylines that are entirely private.

This goes well beyond Facebook, as does Intersect’s ability to show you other stories from the same times and places as your stories. Share a story about a concert, game or community event, and then check to see who else posted from the same time and place. Your life intersects with those of others, and Intersect lets you discover those intersections and borrow stories from others to help fill our your storyline.

We say Intersect is “the easiest way to remember” because Intersect makes it so simple to gather and share stories about different topics and for different audiences.

Intersect is not a competitor to Facebook. Rather, Intersect lives in an environment largely defined by Facebook.

You can sign into Intersect with your Facebook login. You can post Intersect stories to Facebook, a big advantage because Intersect stories can be much richer than Facebook posts. In the very near future you’ll be able to import Facebook content into a private Intersect storyline and then decide whether to share it further.

Of course, Facebook has hundreds of millions of users and Intersect hasn’t begun to promote itself yet. So we’re in very different places.

We’ve been investing and inventing in this space for a long time. We have two issued patents and have applied for patents on 39 additional inventions. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved, and very excited about new features rolling out later this fall.

We think Facebook’s Timeline feature will please people, and leave some of them hungry for more. Intersect should delight them.

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Comments (3)

Kurt Clark - over 2 years ago

I like how storylines are at the forefront of our experience at Intersect. It is also a far more intimate experience than FB, where features and options can get lost in the banner ads – and friend strings that are full of everything. Quite honestly, I use FB to promote Intersect, not the other way around. You’ve done really well and I continue to be a fan :)

Patti Aro - over 2 years ago

I use FB to promote Intersect, too.

Kurt Clark - about 2 years ago

Intersect timelines are still much easier to use than FB’s.