There’s a new social link sharing service in town, but The Atlantic-incubated This has a catch: you can only share one link per day.
This is the polar opposite of the endless feeds that Twitter power users are used to. The service includes a desktop-only bookmarklet so you can share your one link to This without having to open the site. When posting, you can choose a cropped strip from an image in the post, and add a brief comment on why you shared the link.
“The core thinking is basically that we love social recommendations, love to be able to pick people with really good taste and get their recommendations but the platforms that we get content on are built for other things,” This General Manager Andrew Golis said in an interview. “We wanted to create a platform that is specifically about getting the highest quality content recommendations and getting fewer of them.”
Golis joined Atlantic Media as its first Entrepreneur in Residence last year. He previously worked at Frontline, Yahoo News and Talking Points Memo.
Twitter has long suffered from a noise issue. The more you use it, the more people you follow, the worse it gets. Even so, This isn’t designed to replace Twitter. Golis recognizes that there are times when we want a service that’s focused on speed and conversation, while also acknowledging that there are times when you want to just lean back and read or watch high-quality content.
In fact, This feels like a Pocket or Instapaper-style service where you trust others to pick the content for you.
“In some ways, those read-it-later tools are hacks on the broken system,” Golis said, while also acknowledging that he’s a big fan of those apps. “They’re a hack for the fact that there’s this other mode that we like to be in sometimes.”
Another way to think of This is that it’s perfect for days when you’re mostly away from the Internet. If you open up the site, you’ll have a snapshot of the moment’s best links from people whose opinions you trust.
Limiting yourself to one link a day adds an element of pressure to the service, but in Golis’ mind, that’s the whole point.
“That little voice in the back of your head is exactly the goal, the mechanism that we’re trying to use to push the quality up. when you do share something people will know that it’s the best thing people should look at that day.
This users will have to settle into a rhythm on when they want to post. If you find a really cool link at 11am, will you post it then, or wait until the end of the day? The timer resets everyday at midnight Pacific.
Golis noted that some of the most active users of the prototype have started creating bookmark folders in their browsers of links that they’re thinking about sharing. He’s considering building a queuing function into the product in order to accommodate that behavior.
Atlantic Media’s role in creating This is similar to that of an incubator. Golis is launching This as an independent startup, but The Atlantic will remain as a supporting equity holder.
If you’re looking for a beta invite to try out This, you’ll have to hit up one of the original testers, who each received five invites on Thursday.
“We’re still in a pretty early phase. We’ve got a lot of work to do to polish the thing up,” Golis said.
This plans to release another batch of invites to its newest group of users soon. A word of warning: the global This feed is a bit of a digital media circle jerk right now, but that should change as invites spread to new communities.