Hello, beta users!
Over the past few days, you contributed some fantastic stories to the Intersect Travel Favorites storyline. Here are a few highlights:
Jim Strange shared a story about a zip-line tour near Puerto Vallarta (beautiful photos of the jungle, Jim!).
On a trip to Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, Michael Fancher saw a double rainbow, and he has the picture to prove it.
Alicia Aho survived a snobbish waiter and lost luggage on her trip to Helsinki. We had no idea it’s warm in Finland….
Charles Cox did the one thing that you never do in a hotel room in Vienna — he pulled the alarm cord.
And Tassoula got chased by a moose while dog mushing in Fairbanks, Alaska (seriously).
Thanks for the great stories, all!
We’ll do another community storyline soon (think Halloween).
– David H and the Intersect team
Hello, Intersect users!
First of all, we want to thank you — our fearless beta users — for sharing your stories and for the great feedback. Your ideas are already rolling into Intersect!
Here are some of the new things you’ll find:
- A “Thank” button to say “thanks for writing this story.” When you thank another Intersect user, that person gets notified and the thank count for that story goes up.
- Pictures at the top of each story, instead of at the bottom. (What were we thinking?)
- The ability to follow comment threads (especially fun after you’ve posted a comment).
There are a few smaller fit-and-finish changes as well, but we’ll let you discover those for yourselves. Thanks again, and please keep the comments coming to email@example.com.
David H. and the Intersect team
Welcome to Intersect!
It’s been two days since we opened Intersect to allow anybody to view stories. We’re already getting feedback about what people like and, more importantly, where they see opportunities for improvement. We know we’ve got a ton of work to do, and it’s great to be getting guidance from people as they discover Intersect.
After a long period in which just a few of us were using Intersect, it’s thrilling to see stories posted from people I don’t know. The world is full of great stories – big and little, visual and textual.
We’re still in the early stages of beta testing Intersect. It’s like having training wheels on our bicycle. Anybody can read stories or look at photos or video, but only people who have an invitation code can sign up to tell stories or borrow the stories of others. We’ve been giving out codes, and we’ll continue to until we open Intersect and let everybody tell stories.
You’re a storyteller already, of course. We all are. Storytelling is part of what makes us human, and it’s a vital part of how we understand others so that we can make appropriate choices. Stories matter.
Jay Rosen, the noted journalism professor at NYU who has more than 39,000 followers on Twitter, yesterday tweeted: “I’ve seen a demo of this: Intersect is the first tool built specifically for a self-informing public to share its stories.”
Rosen’s insight and brevity illustrate one of the central truths of Twitter, which is that a lot can be said in 140 characters or less. But there’s a place for longer stories, and we hope to find ways to make Intersect a great place for stories of any length, and any ambition, in any medium.
The idea for Intersect came to me while watching my daughter play lacrosse. I was among several parents shooting photos on the sidelines, and it struck me that other parents were getting shots of my daughter that I’d never see and I was capturing images that other parents might want. Wouldn’t it be great if we could trade photos in some really easy way, even with strangers, and without prearrangement?
It was May 10, 2007 at 4 p.m. The location was Mercer Lid Park, built above Interstate 90 on Mercer Island, a suburb of Seattle. Shouldn’t that be enough information to let me share with other people who were at that same intersection of time and place?
Intersect was born that day.
From there it was an easy leap to the idea that all of us have photos, memories, stories, and ideas that might be of interest to other people and that if we can make them discoverable in fun and interesting ways, we’d be more inclined to share them. In my case, I enjoy capturing stories and memories of my time spent with friends and family and sharing them with the people I choose. But I’m also interested in capturing stories and memories about things that might be of value to an audience beyond family and friends. In other words, I’m interested in “news” – broadly defined.
I’d also long had an interest in the stages of human development, and in what people did and tend to do at particular ages in their lives. What does it mean to be 19? 27? 46? Through a separate company, I’d been building interactive timelines of hundreds of interesting people and developing software to let anybody tell their stories in timeline form.
It wasn’t long before I realized that these two ideas belonged together. Memories and stories become more accessible and valuable when they’re part of a broader storyline, and stories and storylines become more interesting when they intersect with one another.
And so Intersect began to take shape through the hard work of a very talented team. We’ve been at it now for almost three years. Our hope is that by making storytelling on Intersect more collaborative, we can make the telling and retelling of stories of all kinds more interesting and engaging for everyone.
Some of you know that a long time ago I was a journalist. I’ve done a lot of things since then, but perhaps because I started as a journalist I often see the world in journalistic terms.
“Journalism is the first draft of history,” the former publisher of the Washington Post, Philip Graham, famously said. Now those first drafts are coming earlier and faster and from more places than ever before.
Journalism and recorded history are built of interpreted stories, typically from a time and place. One reason some people get more attention and credit for what they’re doing or have done is because their stories are recorded and retold, sometimes through the eyes of a journalist.
Too often, important stories and perspectives are missed. Imagine the richness of unrecorded history.
Having a broad set of people telling their stories should lead to a richer and more nuanced collective understanding of the present as well as the past. Plus, it can all be a lot of fun—whether you’re telling stories, borrowing the stories of others so that you don’t have to tell them yourself, or just enjoying what others share.
I hope you’ll consider sharing your serious, fun, interesting, inspiring, or even silly stories on Intersect, and I look forward to the next step of this journey with you and our other beta users, and with this marvelous team.
Founder and CEO, Intersect
You know you’ve heard a great story when you can’t wait to pass it on.
On Intersect’s Home page, you’ll find several stories listed under the heading “Intersect Story Picks.” These are the stories we can’t wait to pass on — fun, thought-provoking, or inspiring stories with the kind of broad appeal that lets anyone enjoy them, whenever, wherever and whatever they’re about.
The six most recently picked stories appear under the Intersect Story Picks heading. Click “view more” to see all selected stories, including those picked weeks ago, laid out in the Intersect Picks storyline, where they are charted by time and place.
Want to submit a story to Intersect Picks?
Stories are added to Intersect Story Picks when they are “borrowed” into the Intersect Picks storyline. To nominate a story to be borrowed, you should first make sure it’s shared publicly, so anyone can read it (look for the “Shared Publicly” tag under the storyteller’s byline), then email its URL to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can nominate any public story for Intersect Story Picks, whether it’s your own or somebody else’s. If it’s picked, its headline and first couple lines will appear on Intersect’s Home page, where everyone who visits the site can open it.
Since we only choose a few stories a day, don’t be surprised if the story you nominate turns up on Intersect Story Picks days after you submit it. All the selected stories go into the Intersect Picks storyline, so you’ll be able to find yours by time and place, like many stories on Intersect.
How to know your story’s been picked
The six most recently picked stories will show up under the Intersect Story Picks heading on Intersect’s logged-out Home page. When you’re logged in, you’ll find the 10 most recently picked stories by clicking the Intersect Story Picks tab under the “What’s New” heading.
To see if your story has been borrowed into the Intersect Story Picks lists and storyline, check the “Notifications” tab, also located under What’s New on the logged-in Home page. If your story has been borrowed, you’ll see a message like this:
Click on the badge to go to the story, and see what conversation it may have sparked since it was featured on Intersect Story Picks.
Intersect Story Picks features only stories that are shared publicly. If your story is selected and you change its permissions from “Visible To: Public” to anything else, it will no longer appear on the Intersect Story Picks storyline.
We hope you like what you see on Intersect Story Picks! We’ll be on the lookout for good stuff to add. And as always, we welcome your feedback. Let us know what you think at email@example.com.