Check out our colorz!

You may have noticed that Pullquote now sports a bunch of gorgeous new quote colors and fonts!  Hope you like ’em.

Meanwhile, our sister site RunwMe has shed its chrysalis and emerged as Racery, which powers real races on virtual routes, whether cycling, swimmingrowing, running or walking. Also some great virtual routes for training for 5ks, 10ks and half marathons! Perfect for friends who want to run together, businesses seeking to entertain their customers, charities without the people power to host a live race, and organizations wanting to use races and challenges to inspire wellness.

Websites will soon be dinosaurs

John Hermman, formerly a Tech editor at Buzzfeed and (for now) writing for The Awl, thinks we’re living in the twilight of a web site as a publication’s embodiment and lifeblood. (Here’s the full article.)

In short, “websites are unnecessary vestiges of a time before there were better ways to find things to look at on your computer or your phone.”

The only thing that keeps people coming back to apps in great enough numbers over time to make real money is the presence of other people. So the only apps that people use in the way publications want their readers to behave—with growing loyalty that can be turned into money—are communications services. The near-future internet puts the publishing and communications industries in competition with each other for the same confused advertising dollars, and it’s not even close.

Hermman points to Fusion, a joint venture of entertainment companies Disney and Univision, as an example of a new breed that isn’t site-centric.

For Fusion to talk about “promiscuous media” and “build[ing] our brand in the places [the audience] is spending time”—as opposed to publishing everything on a single website and hoping it spreads from there—is not strange in the context of television companies. They’re used to filling channels that they don’t totally control.

What’s a publisher, you ask?

[Publishers will] begin to see their websites as Just One More App, and realize that fewer people are using them, proportionally, than before. Eventually they might even symbolically close their websites, finishing the job they started when they all stopped paying attention to what their front pages looked like. Then, they will do a whole lot of what they already do, according to the demands of their new venues. They will report news and tell stories and post garbage and make mistakes. They will be given new metrics that are both more shallow and more urgent than ever before; they will adapt to them, all the while avoiding, as is tradition, honest discussions about the relationship between success and quality and self-respect. They will learn to cater to the structures within which they are working and come up with some new forms.

So, publishers, if you believe Hermman, get ready to retool your tools, metrics and lingo. Goodbye HTML, hello Facebook. Goodbye articles, hello cards. Goodbye clicks, hello shares and comments.

Lifehacker on Pullquote: quotes are easier and prettier than ever

Lifehacker gives Pullquote a nice write-up: “Once you’ve installed the app and set it all up, just browse as you would usually. When you find a quote you like, highlight it and you’ll see a menu with some options pop up. Simply select Tweet, make whatever modifications you like, and post. You can even save your favorite quotes with tags for easy access later. Pullquote also makes it easy to tweet an image.”

Simplifying Pullquote

Every new tool starts in the middle of an open field. Anything is possible.

With each step away from launch, a left or right turn is possible. With each new user, tempting new vistas and potential directions open up.

If all goes well, as time passes functionality deepens to fulfill the specific needs of a particular group of users. The number of potential realizable trajectories narrows.

Eventually, a tool’s muddy, twisting path becomes a paved, unwavering road. This road is efficient and high-volume for users, but, for its original creators, nearly impossible to shift.

For a new tool, though, there’s no pavement, no traffic insisting on proceeding as it did last month or last year. The options are dizzily unlimited.

So it’s been with Pullquote over the last year. Back in January, Pullquote started as tool designed to permit link to a specific sentence or paragraph on a web page. After each link, we added a shadowbox containing the respective quote to highlight the text for clickers who didn’t have the Pullquote extension installed. (This shadowbox also allowed us to hint to its viewer that she or he might want to get the Pullquote extension and create her/his own Pullquotes.)

That was our original idea. Then we found that some users particularly liked the shadowbox, seeing it as a kind of infographic.

And then we had a bunch of users decide that Pullquote should be used chiefly to swiftly populate a tweet with a headline and a link. Swipe, click, tweet. This group, lets call them Swift Tweeters, didn’t care about the shadowbox.

The use cases of these two groups conflicted, because the latter group’s usage created a shadowbox with text that was often redundant with the text in the Tweet that pointed to it. This, in turn, greatly annoyed some of the people clicking on those tweeted links.

In July, we added some filters to reduce this redundancy. But this measure reduced the number of shadowboxes by 70%. Which meant that Pullquote user acquisition flatlined, as you can see from the following graph.

Pullquote user graph 2013

Which leads us to our latest measure: simplifying Pullquote to facilitate the creation images containing quotes that then appear inline on Twitter. This idea came to us a couple of weeks ago when Twitter started including inline images in its feeds. Here’s an example of how Pullquotes now look in Twitter feeds:

That’s a big win for Twitter usability. Some Pullquote users seem very excited. Retweets of tweets with these new Pullquotes seem to have jumped. Unfortunately for Pullquote, though, users who like Pullquote for swift-tweeting have stopped using the tool. And the shadowboxes that have helped potential users find Pullquote.com will been seen even less, since you no longer need to click on a pllqt.it link to read the full text of a specific Pullquote. (Because its there in the inline image.)

But we’re taking this step because we see indications that new people (outnumbering the swift-tweeters) are excited enough by the new inline Pullquote functionality to just shout about Pullquote and get friends on board.

Features in Pullquote Chrome version 0.5.6

Pullquote 0.5.6, which improve functionality for the Chrome extension and Pullquote.com, includes some small but vital tweaks to make Pullquote more intuitive. (Similar changes are the Firefox queue, awaiting Mozilla approval.)

To address readers’ concerns about redundancy, a shadow box will no longer appear if the referring tweet already includes the target text. Click on the link in this tweet to see this happen. (Actually, “not happen,” since you’ll go through to the destination page as with a normal click on any other link.)

A longer quote or a quote containing text that hasn’t been tweeted will still be shadowboxed, allowing pullquoters to continue to call out key text for celebration or derision. To give readers more context and to expose related chunks of text already quoted by the Pullquoter, topic names have been added added at the bottom of the shadowbox. A topic relating to more than one quote will be clickable. Here’s an example.

We’ve also removed comments from shadowboxes because people have not been interacting at that level. (Seems obvious, since only 1 in 1000 people leave comments anywhere online, and most links get just 5-50 clicks.) However, comments remain on the individual quote page (like this), since this is most likely to be where people interested in a particular topic will congregate and try to engage with each other.

Finally, the URL structure for member’s streams is simpler. For example, Stowe Boyd’s quote feed is now located at pullquote.com/stoweboyd.

‘Bite-sized’ news aggregators proliferating

In the last week, we saw the FT launch its fastFT service (sidebar of site plus mobile app), and Buzzfeed launched its Fre.sh service.

The fastFT employs 8 journalists to each pump out 100-250 items an hour.  Fre.sh aggregates headlines of highly trafficed articles from sites that use Buzzfeed’s traffic tracking service.

Other similar services are Cir.ca, “the best way to read news on your phone” and Summly, which distills news for mobile phones. (Bought by Yahoo a couple of months back.)

 

First write-up of Pullquotes

Chelsey Delaney reviewed Pullquotes today in Examiner.com, calling the tool “lovely.” Chelsey summed up her need:

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve copied a paragraph from something (anything, everything) just so I can paste it into an email, text message, chat window, blog post–you name it. All the while, I’m doing the shuffle between the browser, the application(s), the devices. No wonder kids don’t read anymore.

We’re happy to help!

Big day for Pullquote(s)

Three cool things happened yesterday in the life of Pullquotes.

First, Lucy Marcus, who I met in the late 90s in London and reconnected with via Twitter, suggested we create a toggle in that lets people turn Pullquotes on/off in the extension bar. We mocked that up, and have it in the programming queue.

Second, Jay Rosensuggested we change the tool’s name to Pullquote. I swear we’d checked a month ago and that domain wasn’t available, but yesterday we were able to buy it for $1200. We’d much rather be a verb than Continue reading

Link directly to specific text on ANY web page

Sick of copy/pasting text, then going back to grab the URL? Tired of linking to articles, then hoping people read far enough to find the sentences that matter? Have you ever just wanted to link directly to a sentence on a web page? We’ve now enabled ANYONE to link directly to ANYTHING via a Chrome extension.

We’re slowly distributing invites to the tool — please shout if you want one.