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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Whrrl: Real-Time Storytelling

Jeff Holden, former V.P. of Consumer Websites for Amazon.com has started a new company, Pelago, whose first product, Whrrl, is a sort of real-time storytelling service in the social-networking arena. In this article, James Turner of O'Reilly Radar interviews Mr. Holden about Whrrl. (If you don't know about O'Reilly's Zoo, then you're not a computer geek.)

A story in Whrrl has a beginning and story structure with multiple contributors who can inject photos and text. Here are some examples of its use, according to Jeff Holden:

What we're seeing right now is a lot of the families are using the product to share stories....Alison Sweeney, she's the host of the Biggest Loser and she was on Days of Our Lives for years...she visited the set of Days of Our Lives with her family. And so it's actually entitled, "Family Visits Days."...Melissa Pierce, who's a really very successful video blogger and just general blogger; she's done a number of very, very funny stories. She did one called "Lonely Bear" about this gummy bear lost in the world.

When asked to differentiate Whrrl from other social networking products, Holden said:

But one of the things about our product in terms of this gated communities question is that we actually let people have complete control over the privacy level, the level at which they want to broadcast. And they can control that separately in real-time and after the fact.

For a more complete representation of the interview, go here.

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