According to Jeffrey Cole, in his presentation at Ad:Tech 2011 (minutes 41 to 45 of the video), “Social Networking is the real deal”, however, teenagers will not hang on Facebook for too long any more (until all their parents show up there, making it “uncool”-), the heaviest users of Facebook are in fact the people in their sixties and their seventies and even if Facebook might grow to one billion, ultimately, the social networking experience will be fragmented in smaller communities. Additionally, rising concerns and fears regarding online privacy will affect people’s and marketers’ behaviors (presentation – minute 38).
Proust might be one of the best examples of these trends described by the Founder and Director of the World Internet Project: it offers an online private place to share memories and stories with family and close friends. To help the people who may not feel comfortable with writing, the service features questions organized in chapters (displayed in a virtual book) that can be used as suggestions to start your media rich and interactive diary. The timeline and the map provide other visual angles to view the stories of your life and share them with your close community.
I personally like the look and feel of the website, the font and the graphic style used are reminiscent of the era when the printing press was invented, or at least a distant past, when printing books was an art, the opposite of Web 2.0 concepts and tools (great!).
As some of you may know, the website name is inspired by 19th century writer Marcel Proust, who is well known for his seven volume novel “In Search Of Lost Time”, in which he conceptualized the notion of involuntary memory, the most famous example being the “episode of the madeleine”. The name is indeed a great match to the service’s offering and mission.
Features highlights (from the press release – I have seen the main features):
Proust lets you view your story in multiple formats from a basic feed of entries or a storybook to the map and timeline views.
- Proust Maps:
- Collect details of the most important events in your life on an interactive map
- See all of your travels and remember your favorite places
- Access any of your Proust entries that are tagged by location by clicking a memory marker on the map
- Proust Timelines:
- See visual interactive timeline with all the key moments of your life and highlight the one you like the most and include milestones (examples: graduation, wedding)
- Share stories about any time in your life using question prompts about specific life moments or by adding a free form entry
- Proust Storybooks:
- Flip through the pages of your story, page by page
- Tell stories about the chapters of your life and add photos, videos
- Invite family & close friends to read your story and add to the discussion by commenting on the pages of your storybook
- Privacy and backup in the cloud:
Proust protects your memories by storing them safely in the cloud where they are automatically backed up and always accessible. You can make every Proust memory private or share it with the family and friends you invite to view and comment.