Intersect Rolls Out Online Storytelling Platform, Using Time, Place to Create Personal ‘Storylines’

9/8/10

It’s safe to say that the face of the media has gone through some major changes recently—with the onset of blogging and digital media, practically anyone with a camera phone and sharp texting skills can become a citizen journalist. Even the oldest names in traditional media are going social, with many publications signing up for social networking accounts from Facebook and Twitter, to Digg, Foursquare, and whatever new craze breaks out next.

Today Seattle-based startup Intersect came out of stealth mode, rolling out a platform for storytelling that incorporates elements from both new and social media. Headed up by Peter Rinearson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former VP at Microsoft, the new venture—something of a community journalism site—aims to reinvent the way people share stories online.

Poynter Online published an in-depth interview with Intersect’s director of editorial outreach, Mònica Guzmàn, who left SeattlePI.com and her popular creation there, the Big Blog, in May to join the 20-person startup.

“Intersect brings together two elements — storylines and intersections of place and time — in ways we hope will make storytelling more collaborative and engaging,” Guzmàn told Poynter’s Mallary Jean Tenore.

Intersect users create a personal page, where, much like Facebook and other social networks, they can upload a bio, photos, and status updates or information about what they’re doing—what the team calls “storylines.” These stories have time and place incorporated in them, creating a visual map of a person’s life through storylines. Others can then navigate a person by scrolling through their storyline—an online timeline of their life.

“In real life, our memories don’t scroll off a page and disappear, and our past can connect us as much as our present. When you pin your story to a place as well as a time, you make it easier for people to find out where their path has crossed with yours — whether it was at a meetup yesterday in Seattle or at summer camp in Maryland in 1985. You can also post stories about the places you intend to be in the future — like concerts or conferences — so the people you might meet there can learn more about you,” Guzmàn told Poynter.

The company, founded in 2007, has raised more than $3 million in angel financing, according to TechFlash, and plans to drive revenue through online advertising.

To find out more about Intersect, watch the video below, and check out Poynter’s interview with Guzmàn and TechFlash’s interview with Intersect’s chief marketing and business development officer Monica Harrington.

Thea Chard is a correspondent for Xconomy Seattle. You can e-mail her at theachard@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/theachard. Follow @

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