Tokoni Closes Down

tokoni

Well, it feels like it was yesterday that I published a video interview with Alex Kazim, ex-eBay and Skype top exec, to announce the launch of the community site. Tokoni’s idea was to create a free expression platform, providing everyday people a tool to tell their exceptional everyday stories (and connect)…

A few days ago, I received a letter from the Tokoni community management team. I copy/pasted it below:

To our friends and fellow storytellers:

Tokoni.com will close to the public on June 30, 2010. Beginning on Thursday, May 20, 2010, no new registrations or stories will be accepted.

We want to assure you that you can keep all of the stories you have written.

Important Steps for You to Take Before June 30, 2010:

Export your stories to Adobe Acrobat format, or save the content as a document. This will be the only way you can retain your stories from Tokoni. You’ll find details on the options for saving your stories here: Story Saving Instructions

Reach out to your friends on Tokoni if you’d like to stay in touch. Send them a note to see if there are other communities or social networking sites where you can keep in contact with each other, or trade email addresses.

Thanks again for making Tokoni a great community, and for sharing your stories. We wish you all the best in the future.

The Tokoni Team

Basically, pack up your stuff and go. Unfortunately, the team doesn’t explain why Tokoni will close in a month. I think we can all guess why so there’s no need to expand on the question.

RIP Tokoni.

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