In the first iteration of Antho, users could travel to any other user’s anthology and contribute a story. When a story is contributed, the app sends an email to the recipient, alerting her that a new story had been posted to her anthology.
The first version of Antho was built upon the idea that our life stories are predominantly made up of the impact that others have on us, and the impact that we have on others. Thus, users, in all their posts, could only write stories dedicated to others, not to themselves. All posts were to pay tribute to others.
Users could enter a title and a date, in addition to the story content and image file. Just as every work of art had a title, every story would have a title too. A date would specify the chronological context from which to better understand the story’s timeline.
Users could visit another’s anthology through a simple name-based search, or by clicking their name or picture wherever they might see them (these assets are visible in story bylines and comment posts).
Because stories posted on Antho tend to be longer than user-generated content on other social media platforms, we implemented a draft feature. If a user opted to save a story as a draft, it would in effect create the post, but mark it as private, making the story invisible to both the subject of the post and to the public. Users can click the drafts link at the top menu bar to bring them to a page with a collection of their unfinished posts.
If a user is interested in writing a story about a person who is not yet a user, he is free to create a quasi-account for that person. That feature is folded into the app’s capabilities, without requiring any logistically-complicated sign-out-then-sign-up procedure by that user. The user clicks the button “create anthology” (link in header, or at the end of search results), and plugs in the full name and email of that person. The account is then mostly functioning and built out, sufficient for a story to be published on that person’s anthology.
Once the user publishes a story on the new person’s anthology, then the app emails the person, alerting her that someone had just written a story about her on Antho, and prompting her to “sign up” to view it. The person would then click the link to sign up, be led to a page where they could create a password, and edit the name and email address that the original user-author filled out for them. After the person clicks submit, she is then brought to her now fully-functioning anthology, with a story awaiting her.
In fact, the only way a person could sign up for the service is if another user invited her by first setting up her account and second writing a story for her. The purpose behind this restriction was to slowly and sustainably grow the community, with a focus on quality and engagement of users, rather than the quantity. We also theorized that the type of person others would write about is precisely the type of person who would be willing to write about others. Maintaining a quality, pay-it-forward culture was a high priority for growth and fulfilling the ultimate vision of the company.
Anthologies can also be created for those who have passed away, or those who for some reason or another cannot go online. On the page to set up an account, the user can select whether the account is of such a nature (by checking the box next to the words, “the person has passed away or does not go online”) he will be the one to manage the account. The creator-user would then be in charge of managing that account, including its posts and kinships.