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Memolane is so good it almost makes me want to join Foursquare.

Memolane is so good it almost makes me want to join Foursquare.

It took me a while to find an alternative title for this post. “A trip down Memolane” was the first choice but an instinct, finely honed over 22 years working with ideas, told me that I might not be the first person to coin that particular phrase.

Memolane (my Memolane) looks like this. (Mostly Twitter, some Facebook and a few blog posts).

But, if I navigate back to August when I was taking part in the Mongol Rally, it looks like this. (Mainly flickr). (Although these 500 pixel images in no way do justice to the actual interface.)

Memolane describes itself as “your time machine for the web”. Basically it allows you to aggregate content from all (well most) of your social platforms in one place, creating an easy to navigate and easy to explore timeline of content. You have full control over privacy settings. So, in effect, it’s a well organised, beautifully presented, comprehensive social media diary. It’s one of those simple, elegant ideas that makes you wonder why no-one has done it before.

The end result makes it all look very easy but, with multiple API’s to work with and integrate, I dare say it wasn’t. This excerpt from a blog post by Nikolaj Hald Nielsen (Co-founder and lead API bod) serves to illustrate just how cool Memolane is, and that making it work was a non-trivial exercise.

Having had but a brief play with it so far, I’d say that it’s pretty darn close to being  Baby Bear’s porridge (“just right”) in terms of that age-old balancing act between simplicity and useful functionality.

For instance you can share links directly to individual “memos” within the “lane”.

And there’s a lovely looking feature that I haven’t had the chance to play with yet that allows you to collaborate with friends to co-create a Story around a particular event by pooling content from multiple users.

Seeing how different forms of content come together in Memolane almost makes me want to join Foursquare. The content that’s being pulled into my Memolane at the moment makes it clear what I was doing and thinking on a given day, but it could be enhanced with additional data to remind me of where. So, whilst for most users Foursquare is a real time tool, for me its value would be retrospective. Hmmm. Maybe.

From what I’ve seen I’d thoroughly recommend signing up for a Beta invite, or a launch notification.


  1. Hi Phil. Really enjoyed reading your blog about Memolane. You really hit the nail on describing Memolane. You are definitely not the first to talk about how this makes to want to be more active on social media services including Foursquare, not for the purpose to tell the world, but to document your life.

    I agree that “It’s one of those simple, elegant ideas that makes you wonder why no-one has done it before.” – But its all about timing. Few years ago we did not have all the great social media services we have now, only recently have there been a collective effort to standardize api access trough Oauth and people now have super fast access to the Internet on their phones, which is a great device to capture great memories.

    Glad to pointed out the Stories feature, which we hope will catch on once you are getting the chance to invite friends.


    co-founder Memolane

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment Eric. The retrospective value of social media, as well as the real time value, is truly fascinating.

      And, yes, when it’s possible to invite friends I think the Stories feature will be an absolute winner. Social in (at least) three dimensions.


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