Using SMS, Whrrl users can update their stories with new messages and photos, join existing stories, or even sign up for a new account. Whrrl users with an Eye-Fi memory card can take pictures on their mobile phones or digital cameras and upload them in real-time to their stories as well. The new features allow virtually anyone with a mobile phone to create and contribute to stories with Whrrl. No smartphone required–though Whrrl v2.0 is still in closed beta on the iPhone. (CORRECTION: Whrrl v2.0 IS live in the App Store and ISN’T in closed beta! My bad!)
Pelago recently rolled updated its Whrrl application with the announcement of Whrrl v2.0 at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. The company has completely rebranded the service with a new emphasis on location-based storytelling. It’s an interesting concept and one I think could become popular.
Storytelling is a human meme that has jumped from generation to Storytelling generation since our inception. It’s a fundamental way of communicating whether you’re an adult telling a friend about your weekend or a child creating an imaginary world with toys. In today’s world, with always-on connectivity, it becomes more important to put the constant flow of information into some sort of context to make it relevant. And this includes the huge amount of information we create ourselves when we interact with social networks such as Whrrl.
I think 2009 will be the year of storytelling. storytlr is another company focusing on helping people organize their social networks into some sort of narrative, and despite being a two-person operation, it plans to release a mobile platform sometime in the near future. Moreover, when applications such as storytlr and Whrrl allow users to add location to their personal or group narratives, another layer of contextual relevance is added. We’ll have to see, but the story concept could be big.