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21/09/2011 / loyaltymarketingnews

Erly Groups Social Content Around Shared Experiences

“The human brain stores, indexes and manages information by two canonical paths. The first is people-based and the second is experience-based,” says Eric Feng, the former CTO of Hulu and current founder of experience-driven social startup Erly.

Erly launched last Wednesday as a counter to the typical person-centric social network. Its intention is to help web users group content by experience, and connect with people through shared experiences or events.

“On the social web, everyone is focused on connecting people,” Feng adds. “We didn’t feel like there was enough attention or resources being dedicated to an experience-based way to organize that exact same content, even though that’s what you do in your head everyday for a lot of different things.”

The startup, for the time being, is structured entirely around Collections — think of them as next generation photo albums, or “Twitter hashtags for real life,” as Feng describes them.

Collections, he says, were inspired by big events. He points to how photos and videos from weddings make their way into the Facebook activity feed in a haphazardly, here-today-gone-tomorrow fashion. “You have to manually go from person to person to recreate that content,” he says.

Instead, with Collections, Erly users group together content by experience or event. Photos are automatically aggregated and pulled in from Facebook, Instagram, Flickr and Picasa. Videos and links can be intelligently embedded from third-party social sites, and text notes can be added by Collection members to recount memories with more depth.

Collections can be singular or group affairs. They can also either be private to contributors or open to the public. And, as you build more Collections, Erly weaves them together in a dynamic visual timeline, organized by date.

This date-structured timeline hints at Erly’s grander vision to reinvent the calendar. Feng envisions “a calendar that you can live in.” Erly could theoretically enhance and tie together past, present and future experiences. Collections, Feng says, tackle the past tense by helping users recall, remember and recollect. Future Erly products will address present and future tenses by automatically creating collections for users and assisting with the discovery of events, he says.

Erly in its present state somewhat reminds us a bit of Pictarine, albeit with a stronger emphasis on story-telling and an anything-goes attitude toward web content. But, where Erly really wows is with its interface — it’s innovative, intuitive and evocative. Add a few photos, notes or videos to a Collection and it immediately comes alive in a way that puts the traditional online photo gallery to shame.

Perhaps Feng’s “living” calendar is within reach after all. “We want to create … a platform that, in the future, helps you never miss out on the things going on in your life. In the present, it would help you stay in the moment … and in the past, it would help you remember.”

Erly is based in Menlo Park, California. The startup is backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers — a natural pairing given that Feng spent a year at the firm working with Al Gore on Greentech initiatives.

 

(via Mashable)

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