With Skmmr, Sharing Content is as Personal as It Is Easy

Zack Shapiro, founder of Skmmr, is the type of budding entrepreneur who was raised by social media but retains the ability to step outside its…

Zack Shapiro, founder of Skmmr, is the type of budding entrepreneur who was raised by social media but retains the ability to step outside its grasp, looking inward with a critical eye. As a result, he sees a distinction between sharing, as online interaction is commonly termed, and broadcasting, as online interaction is more commonly initiated. To say that we’re sharing, he said, would be to suggest that something is happening between two individuals, connected directly and with intent; what sharing actually is, at least until now, is the projection of information to the masses, all at once.

Shapiro’s aptly-celebrated release, Skmmr, is seemingly shaped around this distinction. The service allows you to share online content by way of a bookmarklet, dragged at sign-up to the top of your browser. Engaging content can then be shared with a simple click of the bookmarklet, which allows you to select circles of friends with whom you wish to interact. The stories are then stored on their Skmmr homepage. The trick, aimed at engagement, is that the number of users within each circle is limited to eight - this, Shapiro said, pushes interactivity and dialogue by refining user outreach. For users unable to participate through the day, a digest is sent by Skmmr at 7 pm, like a newspaper, which contains the stories shared in their circles. “We wanted to do it around dinner time,” Shapiro explained, “because the stuff that people are sharing is stuff you’re going to want to read separately from your workday.”

Skmmr has been in active production since August, the tail end of a summer Shapiro and his co-founder, Eric Magnuson, spent at TechStars. Now a senior at the University of Colorado at Boulder, he’s found an access point for a developmental approach that began years before. “In high school, I used to come up with ideas and I would get them prototyped on freelance websites,” he said. “I never really knew that people did this for a living. When I got out here and was trying to decide what I wanted to do, I got into the social media side of things, and that kind of transitioned into startups, where I saw people take these ideas and turn them into businesses.” Now a journalism major with a focus in media studies, he’s able to get credit for his off-campus ventures.

Thoroughly experienced, Shapiro and Magnuson are moving forward with an open mind, hoping to watch the interest build. “More realistically, there’s probably only a subset of people who sign up for the beta who end up using it long term,” he noted. “At this point we just want to see where it goes.” Preceding Sunday’s launch, the numbers had the founders feeling optimistic. Sign ups were heavy and their method is lean, fully flexible depending upon user demand. “We’re hoping to just build more interest and really see how people use the service,” Shapiro said. “And to see if it’s as compelling as we think.”

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