This morning, I woke up to this email from Storylane’s CEO Jonathan Gheller which said:
I am excited to inform you that the Storylane team will be joining forces with Facebook. You can read more about it in my story here.
First things first - What is Storylane?
Storylane is a place where you can share stories about your life that are more thoughtful and serious in tone. And of course it’s social to the core. Launched in October 2012, it falls in the same league of Tumblr, Blogger or even Quora. But, the difference is that Storylane focuses on more personal stories - it asks you questions like “What do you know now that you didn’t when you were 18?" and even casual writers share stories about their lives like this one or this. But, what really interested me was the fact that it is such a beautifully designed product. Every experience interacting with Storylane is so fresh yet comfortable. Everything, right from the beautiful animation while the page loads or the way an image moves when you hover over a summary of the story is very well thought of. And their recently launched iOS app is also groundbreaking since it brings a very new interaction to reading apps. They truly delight their users with the experience.
What has happened?
Storylane is “now joining forces” with Facebook. What this means I do not know - but what I assume is that Storylane is acqui-hired to ramp up Facebook’s attempt to capture the longform writing market. So, it’s more about the team rather than the product. This has a weirdly same connotation to what happened with Posterous joining Twitter. The CEO had then mentioned that Posterous would continue running as an independent service but we all know how that turned out. I was a Posterous user back then but had a foresight to move to Tumblr. I have a bad feeling about Storylane too. Not that I am a heavy user but I do visit it quite often if only to check out the design and new stuff they’ve done. Heck, I have evangelised it to as many people as I could.
Why this rant?
It is because it hurts to see good products die. They add value to our lives and as someone really famous said “They move the human race forward”. I don’t know what the future holds for Storylane (the product) but I just hope it’s not a bad one. We need good products in the system. Also, I am sure, there are many out there who have invested their time and energy into Storylane. Because of its serious nature, Storylane was never just a fad but an attempt from a lot of people to start sharing their feelings. Even at Musicfellas, we took inspiration from Storylane for some our features - most notably the bell icon and some other minute details. And always looked up to the Storylane team for doing such a great job.
Having said all this, I’d like to congratulate the Storylane team for joining Facebook and wish them luck. And here’s hoping (and requesting) that they keep the service up for many of us whose lives have been touched by them in some way or the other.