Co.Design

Steven Johnson Unveils A Twitter-like Network For Sharing Long Reads

Findings.com will be a wonderland for geeky literati, allowing them to share clippings from longer pieces with your social network.

As a daily writer and reader, I can’t live without Twitter: I get story ideas there, I drum up freelance work there, I get inspired and educated there. But man, that 140-character limit is a bitch sometimes. And let’s face it--in Twitter’s big tent, there’s a helluva lot of noise. What if there were something like Twitter, but populated solely with unabridged snippets of interesting books, articles, and essays? Findings.com is exactly that: Instead of exchanging hashtagged brain farts and link-shortened headlines, users can post full-length quotations from whatever literary source they like (provided it’s electronic).


[extra points for using an awesome Apples in Stereo track as the background music!]

Findings.com is the brainchild of Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From. Johnson got the idea for Findings while writing that book, and wishing there were a 21st-century digital equivalent of "the commonplace book, one of the great intellectual engines of the Enlightenment: books of quotations assembled by hand by 18th-century readers, annotating and indexed and remixed by readers like Locke, Jefferson, and Priestley."

Findings provides a bookmarklet you install in your browser, so that anytime you see a bit of text you want to clip and share with your social-network-turned-library, you just hit the button. But the real genius of Findings is its e-book integration--especially with the Kindle, which has included a publically shareable "Highlights" function for years. By adding a Twitter-like interface layer to Highlights, Findings gives e-books an innovative edge on their paperbound ancestors: Here’s a social network that literally lets you actively read over other bookworms’ shoulders and watch their thought processes coalesce in real time. The site design is clean and quiet, like a library--and instead of inane Trending Topics, you get Trending Books. A social network that may actually make you smarter? From the author of Everything Bad Is Good For You, I’d expect nothing less.

Add New Comment

1 Comments

  • Justin

    What an interesting idea. I think it looks a little "too much" like Twitter; the idea of having to build up a list of people I follow (that are selecting quotes that interest me) is daunting.  I signed up anyway. ;)