Tokoni, a Source of Life Testimonials – E5

tokoni

Tokoni is the perfect place to easily share your most profound stories. With good content and a vibrant community, Tokoni is also a nest for professional writers. Matt Katz, who “documents the life of an engaged male in modern America”, shares stories on Tokoni.

Tokoni makes a lot of sense for professional writers. As a blogger, you are not only in charge of creating your content, but you also need to distribute it: SEO, social networks, buzz, RSS marketing, offline PR… That’s not a life for a writer! Tokoni embeds your story within your audience. The social experience is designed to let others find you. Just write and see what happens.

Having journalists sourcing bits of news, most probably testimonials, from the story-hosting platform is something that Alex Kazim thinks about. Since the Founders are eBay vets, I wonder if Tokoni has considered building an auction system as means for users to monetize their stories. Not that any given story is intrinsically selling material, but news-related content tends to easily bubble up on the Web, and citizen journalism is a growing trend.

Tokoni just launched publicly and needs to grow its userbase to see how things are shaping. Since Tokoni is very much like a Flickr for stories, it stands its chance in the crowded space of social networks. The concept is rather new (Associated Content is somewhat similar), the design is certainly not a headache, but the browsing experience could use a little fine-tuning (search results pages mainly show thumbnails – mainly text would be easier to grasp the story behind an item).

Overall, if you have a crazy traveling story to tell, an unusual banking problem, family issues, immigration worries, you name it, try Tokoni and see where it takes you. Your story might come across more eyeballs than you would have expected.

Read more:
Introducing Tokoni, a Social Network for Self-Expression – E1
Tokoni, Where Stories Connect – E2
Tokoni Gives a Voice to WomenCount – E3
Tokoni’s Origins: Ducks at eBay – E4

Tokoni’s Origins: Ducks at eBay – E4

tokoni

What is Tokoni’s story? Its original story? It implies ducks at eBay. Intrigued? Then watch the video to understand Alex Kazim’s original leitmotiv for creating Tokoni. If this kind of story had a place to be shared on eBay, it would probably add a great deal of value to some auctions. While Tokoni can add value to other content/service providers, its story-hosting platform can also add value for the writers who post on Tokoni.

tokoni

Read more:
Introducing Tokoni, a Social Network for Self-Expression – E1
Tokoni, Where Stories Connect – E2
Tokoni Gives a Voice to WomenCount – E3
Tokoni, a Source of Life Testimonials – E5

Tokoni Gives a Voice to WomenCount – E3

tokoni womenscount

We’re now taking a look at Tokoni’s potential to integrate new communities onto their platform. The best example is the WomenCount page on Tokoni. WomenCount is a non-profit political organization that gives women of all generations and backgrounds from around the country a powerful voice in the political process. Thanks to the story-sharing platform Tokoni, WomenCount can concretely offer their members to share their stories on a dedicated platform.

When WomenCount’s members land on the womencount.org Website, they are directly invited to share their experiences with the community through Tokoni:

tokoni womenscount

Once they click on the “click here to share your stories with us”, they land on womencount.tokoni.com, WomenCount’s dedicated page on Tokoni:

tokoni womenscount home

So far, there are no Tokoni page integrated directly in womencount.org. However, on the homepage, if you scroll down a bit, you will find a Tokoni widget (“Issues on Tokoni”) that gathers a few headlines from the WomenCount’s community on Tokoni.

As Alex Kazim mentions, Tokoni also developed a Facebook application to try out ways to share Tokoni with friends:

tokoni womenscount facebook

While the functions do not allow a rich interaction with the platform yet, looking at Tokoni’s Facebook app is a good way to see what kind of info the Tokoni platform can share with other applications and services. It also indicates how Tokoni plans to grow by acquiring members through other social platforms.

Tokoni, Where Stories Connect – E2

tokoni

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

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

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.

Collections

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.

Maps

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.

Fans

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.

Read more:
Introducing Tokoni, a Social Network for Self-Expression – E1
Tokoni Gives a Voice to WomenCount – E3
Tokoni’s Origins: Ducks at eBay – E4
Tokoni, a Source of Life Testimonials – E5

Introducing Tokoni, a Social Network for Self-Expression – E1

tokoni

Blogs are now part of our daily experience online. In Technorati’s 2008 State of the Blogosphere, a few interesting numbers explain the blogging trend:

  • 900,000 posts are created every 24 hours;
  • 75% of all bloggers blog for personal satisfaction.
  • 67% of all bloggers say blogging enhances their online social experience.

Another reality of blogging is that 60% to 80% of blogs are abandoned within a month. Blogs are almost like Tamagotchis: you nurture them with attention, or they digitally die.

Alex Kazim identifies the ephemeral blogging phenomenon as follows: Through blogging, people mainly want to share stories. Life stories. Drinking coffee is a micro-story that belongs to Twitter, but a life-threatening experience at the hospital for example is a profound life story that can only be shared through a blogging format.

Alex Kazim is one of the co-Founders and the CEO of Tokoni. Alex works to provide a better solution for those life stories to be told. His answer – Tokoni – is a blogging platform, and a social network at the same time. Tokoni supports the once-a-month blogger. The idea is to create a place where listening to others’ stories is as important as telling yours.

Alex Kazim held many executive positions at eBay during its blooming days, was President at Skype, VP marketing at Paypal, and is now launching Tokoni with his ex-co-worker and wife Mary Lou Song. Together, they are dedicated to build a new type of self-expression platform where emotions grow through sharing.

The depth of the social Web still remains to be explored. Tokoni’s approach, in many ways, reminds me of Moreno psychodrama’s experience, where sharing profound stories with others, and experiencing a positive secure feedback from them, can push the story-teller to a state of catharsis. If Tokoni can replicate some of those psychodrama principles, then the new story-telling social network could become a powerful place to share, one that would be heavily-charged emotionally.