Social networking sites are all about sharing life facts with others. Sometimes the stories or statuses can be very inspirational, entertaining or even educational - but those are like rare diamonds in a rather boring wasteland of 'i just had lunch' or 'i got up in the morning'. Maybe the internet needs more places where people could share stories about 'things that matter'?
Storylane creators aspire to create a 'more intimate, humane web'. Unlike many sites concentrated on collecting photos or advertising products, this one collects real stories and inspire people to write on given subjects without limiting their creativity with lenght or style restrictions.
Once a new user registers (with the Facebook or Twitter account or by creating a new one) he will be greeted by a set of topics and asked to choose the most interesting ones, for example 'places', 'fashion and style' or simply 'life'. Then the content of the site will be adjusted to the topics, and a list of recommended users to follow given. The user can either explore the stories that are already there and look for interesting people to follow, or add a whole new story.
Once the user decides to share his experience, he can use the 'tell a story' feature which suggests subjects. The user can take a look at the most popular topics, such as 'Where was your favorite vacation?' or 'Do you believe in God?', or browse the thematic categories and look for inspiration in 'hobbies', 'people' or 'life'. These topics seem simple, but it's all up to the user whether he will write something banal or beautiful. There are also free topics, such as 'Write an awesome short story' or 'tell a story with pictures', and it's also possible to just add a story not inspired by any given topic and give it your own title.
Once the topic is chosen the editing site appears, and the user can add the written part along with some pictures or even audio files. Once the story is ready, it can be published on Storylane in the chosen category and also shared on Facebook and Twitter.
A published story can be, of course, read and evaluated. Storylane doesn't offer a comment feature, which is surprising, but has a system based on Facebook 'likes' but more developed. There are 9 icons including 'like', 'laugh', 'wow' and only one 'negative' one - 'disagree'. Possibly the site designers wanted to keep it nice and friendly, so they limited the options of giving non-positive feedback.
Story writers don't get points, achievements or badges, but the most 'liked' stories appear at the top of the 'liked' ranking.
The layout has been clearly well thought through and the whole site is intuitive and user-friendly. Adding content is easy even for a non seasoned internet user, because all you have to do is write in an appropriate window, add pictures from the computer or a website and click 'publish'.
Storylane is a nice and friendly place, more like a gathering of friends around a fireplace with warm cocoa than a troll filled dungeon, as many sites appear to be. It's focused on content, real life experiences and old fashioned story sharing. The idea with ready topics can inspire people to consider them for a while and maybe write their own story.