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Prismatic wants you to be free to express yourself, without bothering your entire social network.

The startup announced a pivot today to become a “social network for your interests,” where you can indulge your passion for pastry, your fanaticism for football, or your craze for cats without bothering all your friends and colleagues.

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 10.43.02 AM“Current social networks box you in,” founder Bradford Cross told VentureBeat. “If you’re in tech, but also into cooking and hiking, it’s hard to follow enough cooking and hiking people, and your followers are probably expecting tech from you, so there’s social pressure to avoid sharing about cooking and hiking.”

Prismatic started out as a social news aggregator. The new Prismatic has a wider scope and no longer emphasizes news.

Users follow people and topical threads that relate to their unique interests and hobbies, such as music, cooking, and sports. They can share things that interest them and discuss articles with other users. The app gets smarter over time about what stories it recommends.

Prismatic raised a hefty $15 million funding from Yuri Milner and Accel about a year ago. It aimed to distinguish itself from the myriad of other news readers out there (Flipfoard, Circa, Digg, Zite, Pulse, Reverb, and more) with strong design, as well as its algorithms, which Cross said are “better than anyone at understanding you or your interests.”

That funding was partly slated to help Prismatic branch out beyond news content into other areas, such as music, events, and retail products. The idea was that people could discover not just relevant media on Prismatic, but also stuff they might like to buy. (Aha! A business model.)

Cross said Prismatic won’t do ads but, like Pinterest, will use the user data to present relevant paid content.

It is an interesting move for the company and an effort to distinguish itself from the pack of other news readers, not to mention actually make some money.


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