We're always sharing our favorite media, whether through email, text, or social networking. Unfortunately, sites such as Facebook and Twitter make finding those recommendations after the fact less than optimal. Enter Bookshlf, an iPhone and web-based app that makes it easier to recommend content such as articles, podcasts, music, videos, and more.
As its name suggests, Bookshlf allows you to group your favorites into shelves. These groups of posts are either private or public. You assign categories to make your shelves easier to find. For example, a doctor might create a shelf of recommended articles on the Coronavirus, while someone obsessed with music might create a collection of album links. For this piece, I created a Bookshlf account focused on my favorite iMore articles and those of others.
One month after launching, Bookshlf remains a work in progress.
From a design perspective, Bookshlf hits all the sweet spots. It's intuitive, offers a quick sign-up process, and looks stunning in both app format and online. Plus, the steps to create new posts with links are familiar and straightforward. On the iPhone, for example, Bookshlf uses Apple's share sheet.
As a community, Bookshlf already has a small, active footprint that's growing by over 1,000 users per week, according to the latest data. Better still, the content being posted on Bookshlf is fresh, varied, and timely. Among the topics being discussed on the service at the time of this writing are privacy, stay-at-home recipes, and, of course, COVID-19.
Better still, the content being posted on Bookshlf is fresh, varied, and timely.
Of the users who have signed up for Bookshlf since it launched on March 5, most are using the iPhone app, although visits to the Bookshlf website are gaining traction. I have no way of knowing whether those numbers are good, bad, or extraordinary. I'm hoping they are exceeding Bookshlf's expectations. With most of the world forced to stay at home during the current pandemic, a product like Bookshlf should find an immediate, natural following for folks hoping to connect with like-minded individuals about various topics.
And yet, I remain unconvinced the world needs (or wants) a shiny new object to share information.
Despite the many flaws, existing social networks get the job done. Better still, there's already a built-in following for users across those platforms. Yes, curation on Facebook, for example, is terrible, at best. However, at times like these, there's comfort in familiar mediocrity, no?
I like Bookshlf, want to see it exceed, and can't wait to see how it develops over the coming weeks, months, and hopefully, years. I plan on continuing to use Bookshlf and hope to gain a following through the service by regularly posting links to articles I find interesting. As part of this process, I plan on creating bookshelves about non-techie topics also and become friends with many of the current Bookshlf users. You can visit me @bryanmwolfe.
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