October 29, 2013

Shrtnws Redux

Shrtnws was a small project that I built along with my Odd Alice friends at an event called 24 Hour Business Camp. It was great fun to build, and the end result was pretty cool. Basically, it was short news delivered to you through the site, or on Twitter and/or Facebook. There were several (five or six) topics that you could follow, and you got the very most important news in each of these.

We ran Shrtnws for a month or so, with paying sponsors I might add, but then decided to call it quits. There just wasn’t time enough, and due to changes with APIs, along with a publishing method that took a little bit too much tinkering when you were mobile, we shelved the project.

I was never comfortable with dropping the project, but reality is what it is. Much like I had to shelve the Appricorn project due to the ongoing changes within the App Store, we had to do the same with Shrtnws at the time.

The Shrtnws logo
The Shrtnws logo

The past few months I’ve been posting a lot of links with brief commentary on Twitter and App.net. The past few weeks, these have been syndicated to my Tumblr, TDHFTW, as well, using IFTTT. I’ve tried a few different ways to publish these links and the commentary, and I’ve considered and reconsidered the implications of each. I’ve also thought long and hard regarding wether this is what I want to be doing with my time, and where this sort of thing fits in with my online activities.

I drew the conclusion that I’m reading a ton of things online every day no matter what, and that I enjoy sharing the most worthwhile stuff with others. But I also realized that I don’t really want to flood my @tdh account on Twitter with links, and the same goes for other areas online where I’ve tried this sort of thing.

Thus, I give you Shrtnws 2.0, a very slimmed down news operation. To start with, the only way you can subscribe to the news updates is by:

Further down the line there’ll be a proper site (the current one is very simple), along with additional ways to follow and/or subscribe to the news. I want to expand it further, many of the ideas that were true for the original project, but never came to pass, still fits in. I’m excited about where this can go.

The original idea, that you’ll be able to read the news wherever you feel like, still stands. What’s changed is how it’s being published behind the scenes, and that’s what I’ve been fiddling with the past few months. Because, you know, I’m not only a news junkie, I’m also a sucker for publishing and this is a fun little experiment.

The initial business model will be ads, plain and simple. The ads are in fact sponsors, and will be implemented in a tasteful and reasonable fashion, as they should be. I won’t worry about this to begin with though, it can all come later, because what I’m really doing is just organizing (possibly maximizing as well) my news output at the time being. There are other business opportunities as well, but for now, getting the actual publishing operation is my first and foremost priority.

Speaking of which, Shrtnws is the first product to graduate from our project satellite program at Odd Alice. The first of several products, I’m happy to say.

Shrtnws launches now, and is completely free. Be sure to follow @shrtnws on Twitter, on App.net, and on Tumblr and Facebook. And yes, this means that my link commentary will be moving, evolving really, to Shrtnws. Although you can expect a retweet or two, I’m sure.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.