Tokoni launched in private beta about a year ago, and opened to the public merely two weeks ago. The idea is to create a platform where people share life stories. As I mention, some stories can be really intense to share for some, so the social set up on the site is important to make sure the stories told are well-received.
The homepage gathers a wide variety of different browsing solutions. In the left sidebar, the stories are organized by categories, keywords and genres. Categorizing stories by genre is fairly original, and it adds to the qualitative search experience. Tokoni’s main page is very similar to any social sharing platform, including a featured story section, must-reads, hottest hubs (groups), Q&A section from users, the latest stories, stories requests and the newest members. A map also offers a geo-based browsing experience.
Titles of stories also appear dynamically at the bottom of the page, a nice and light way to fit even more suggestions into one page.
A story’s page
A lot of things happen around a stories. Comments follow the narrated story. You have links to other stories from the same author. In the right sidebar, you see which stories are directly connected to the featured story.
The Bubble Browser
This offers a dynamic graph of interconnections between members and stories. The function of the widget is very similar to a ‘related stories’ section, except that members and stories are itemized exactly the same way.
Hubs are groups of individuals and stories that relate to a topic. Hubs are a great way to connect around a specific field of interest.
On the outside, collections are very close to hubs: they gather stories that share a similar topic. Under the hood, things are different: Collections are a list of stories that a person wishes to syndicate on one page. It could be anything, and as a blogger, I see collections as very similar to the ‘shared items’ function on Google Reader, or the bookmarked items page on Delicious.
As I mentioned above, maps are also part of the browsing experience. Any item of the site is geo-located and placed as a marker on a little map widget.
Just like you follow people on Twitter, or you subscribe to a blog’s feed, you can become a fan of a writer, and be alerted anytime he posts a new story on Tokoni. This surely helps story-tellers to create a community of readers.
All those features create a rich social experience on the site. Tokoni’s strength is that connections mainly happen through stories instead of people. Tokoni is a place for stories to connect.