One of the reasons I came to Melbourne was to work with funky, innovative businesses. One of the first ones I found (via this guy and LinkedIn) was Anecdote. I’m spending the next little while running a social media campaign to tell the world about their funky new web app, Zahmoo.
Zahmoo is all about storytelling. I have a soft spot for storytelling; I think it’s one of the most important things we do, as universal to the human experience as food and sex. As one of my heros, Ursula Le Guin, says:
There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.
Zahmoo is a tool you can use to collect, organise and store your stories. I’ve found the easiest way to describe how it works is that it’s like a photo album or Flickr for stories. At the moment, people are using it to preserve their family stories and history, stories of community groups and projects, and vignettes from businesses that help them explore their strengths, weaknesses and goals. People are telling stories in words, in photos and in video.
The first question anyone asks when a new tool is created is why is it better than what is already out there. When I’ve talked about Zahmoo, people have asked why it’s better than just starting a blog on one of the great free platforms that are out there. My answer is always that, firstly, Zahmoo is easier for new users to set up. The specific infrastructure that you need for collecting and storing your stories is already in place and there are no frills that you don’t need getting in the way.
If you’re a techie or even a non-techie web geek like me, setting up a blog is about as easy and familiar as making a sandwich. But for most people, it’s unfamiliar, seems like a lot of work, and actually pretty uninteresting.
The other reason Zahmoo is setup specifically for this one purpose. Blog software is fairly open to give people room to use it for whatever they want, which is overwhelming if you haven’t used a tool like that before.