Social News, The Shared Web Way

April 28th, 2011 by Jay Levy View Comments

Recently, a team of entrepreneurs I am working with (The Shared Web) reminded me of a post, (, by Chris Dixon where he discusses different types of graphs and how his product Hunch is trying to create the interest graph. Hunch is doing this by discerning user’s interests based on their answers to playful questions. Hunch illustrates that users are more interested in making decisions such as what movie to see or book to read based on the suggestions of people with similar interests, whether or not they are your friends. Dixon’s believes that Twitter’s innovation was to create asymmetric relationships where you can “follow” people (of interest to you) and obtain what they broadcast.

The Shared Web (TSW) takes the concept mentioned above and applies it to show users content categorized in topics that they’re interested in curated by people they trust. The Shared Web is a social news product – think of a Hacker News for every topic or a social Reddit. Users follow topics and TSW shows them content in the areas of interest by people who have similar taste. To do this, The Shared Web pulls content from users’ social networks (starting with Twitter) and from content shared on TSW. The product promises the following:

1. That users will stay informed. i.e. they wont miss the big stories of the day (i.e. you won’t overlook things or miss them because you didn’t log on to Twitter at the right time)

2. Users will able to discover content they are interested in but wouldn’t have found otherwise.

3. Users can quickly engage around content that they find interesting by thanking the person who posted it, reposting it to their own network or having a conversation about it.

They are building the interest graph by looking at what topics each individual sbuscribes to and who they trust (endorse) in these different categories. If a service or set of services succeeds in mapping out this graph, they can use that information to help people relevant information that is important to them and customize their experience in different avenues. There are numerous opportunities to monetize the data, which is quite exciting to us!

They have an interesting strategy that is two fold:

1. They pull content from Twitter and rerank it based on how relevant it is to you (by looking at topics it belongs to) and the number of people that have retweeted it + other heuristics in their secret sauce.

2. They let people share on their own network with the underlying assumption that there are many things that people see everyday that they don’t share because there isn’t a dedicated place to do that without flooding your audience. Think of articles on Cassandra, a key value store database, or startups that you find, or the myriad of blogs posts that you see over the course of a day. A key differentiator to all the social news readers currently out there, is that they let you share knowing you wont flood your audience because they have subscribed to the topics they care about.

The Shared Web is a curated experience of content on the web, you subscribe to topics you are interested in and in return you don’t miss the big stories and discover content that you wouldn’t have otherwise found. The mixture of curation and serendipitous discovery as opposed to search is very exciting. It’s a way of creating that  ’AHA’ moment where you think WOW I would have never found that if it wasn’t for this product. It is a very satisfying, addictive experience. Sharing is the new search and they believe that if you can share better you’ll share more.

Here is an exclusive link that lets you get onto their site – which is still in early beta – to get a sneak peak on what they are working on (link expires soon):

There are really innovative features on the way and your feedback can help inform what they do next, so I would love to hear your thoughts once you try it out. Get onto to the beta quick, the link expires in a few days.


About Jay Levy

Jay Levy

Jay Levy is a co-founder and principal of Zelkova Ventures. Jay focuses most of his time in working with the current portfolio company and looking at new investments in the software-as-a-service, internet media and green tech space. More »


Join Our Mailing List

* indicates required field