"This." Is The Social Network That Finally Sifts Through The Junk

Another social network. Just what we need, right? Like virtually every other one that comes along, a new site has emerged to offer something Facebook doesn't. But I've got high hopes for this one: Introducing "This.", a brand-new social network based on the concept of captioning "this" (and nothing else) when you're referring to something remarkable that needs no other explanation. That's the experience "This." promises — you post just one link a day to whatever article, video, or idea you deem worthy of sharing. It's billed as an alternative to Facebook's News Feed clutter, and it's a minimalist's dream.

"This." isn't just minimalist with what people share, but in its design and function. You're able to do four things and four things only: post one link a day, follow other members on the network, click on the links that people they follow have shared, and hit "Thanks" on links they particularly enjoyed (the network's equivalent of a Facebook "Like").

Perhaps the biggest difference between "This." and Facebook? You're not allowed to post selfies, and members can't message each other. For those who use Facebook just to discover interesting articles or videos and roll their eyes as they scroll past glamour shots and baby pics, "This." is probably perfect for you.

The way "This." works is actually closer to Reddit than Facebook in its emphasis on culling the Internet to share interesting stuff. But, again, the one-link-a-day rule is designed to encourage quality over quantity, a virtue that Reddit doesn't always have.

The creator behind "This." is Andrew Golis, a media whiz heading experimental projects at Atlantic Media, who describes his latest one as "an attempt to build on the rebellions against The Stream that are popping up all over." (The Stream refers to the web's constant flow of information that Golis thinks is starting to overwhelm people, whether they know it or not.)

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Golis explained the motivation behind his project to the New York Times:

The quality of the entertainment, art and journalism being published on the web has never been higher, but the places we find and share links tend to value quantity over quality.

The solution? "This." Golis described his project in a blog post on Medium:

We love content recommendations from people we trust, but we can’t keep up, we feel constantly distracted, and are increasingly aware of how narrow “nowness” is a primary definition of value.... This. is an attempt to build a platform where influence comes from taste, instead of sheer volume (in both the quantity and loudness senses).

Golis told the Times that it all started with an idea in his head that he couldn't shake. He pictured his friend sending him an email every day at 8 p.m. with a link that just said "This." "I'd click it every time," Golis told the Times.

Right now the network is invitation-only, so users have to be invited by one of its roughly 4,500 members. But judging by the countless people on Twitter asking for a "This." invite, that number is sure to grow. And Facebook should watch out.

Images: Getty Images (3)