Whatever else they are, the internet and the social web are a bonanza for sharing content. Thanks to Twitter (TWTR) and Facebook (FB) and Snapchat and dozens of other tools, people share literally billions of photos and links and status updates with each other every day. This vast ocean of never-ending content can be fascinating, but for many users it can also be overwhelming. How can we filter out all of the excess and find the things that are truly interesting or worthwhile?
There are a number of startups and companies trying to solve this problem, from Nuzzel and Quibb to Jason Hirschhorn’s MediaREDEF, not to mention newsletters such as The Skimm that are produced by journalists and other curators. But a startup called This is taking a somewhat unique approach: The company’s name refers to the fact that users can only share a single link per day. The service itself is simply a collection of these links shared by its users.
When compared with the billions of tweets posted every day, this seems like a curiously limited offering. But founder Andrew Golis — who created the service while at The Atlantic, where he was entrepreneur in residence — says he believes that a stripped-down service for great content has a place alongside the massive social platforms like Facebook:
“We don’t force great links to compete for attention with auto-playing videos of bears falling out of trees or pictures of your ex on vacation. Those things have their place, but just like movie theaters and bookstores and museums and galleries, we know that context matters when it comes to finding the media you love.”
Golis said Tuesday that he has raised a small seed round of funding ($610,000) from a number of angel investors, including Silicon Valley veteran Roger McNamee, former Tumblr president John Maloney and former Twitter staffer Chloe Sladden, as well as the Knight Foundation and Matter Ventures. The service is adding a number of features, including an upgraded iOS app. For now, it is in invitation-only beta mode, but is planning to open to public access later this year.
The idea of artificial limits on what we can share as a stimulus for creativity isn’t that unusual. After all, Twitter’s 140-character limit doesn’t serve any practical purpose any more (it was originally chosen because so that updates would fit inside a single text message), but many users find that having to condense their thoughts actually helps them refine what they want to say.
Maloney said that he sees This as an antidote to a lot of the noise on the social web: “I love the restraint built into This,” he said. “Golis and his team are solving a huge problem. There is so much good media on the web each day, but it’s only getting harder to find amidst the glut of everything else.” Could services like This become the hot new social-media tool? Golis and others are clearly hoping they can.