It is undeniable that social media is a hugely powerful thing. Be it the ability to share your life’s experiences with friends and family on Facebook, follow up-to-the-minute buzz on Twitter or create photo or video logs of your life on Instagram or Vine, social media is well and truly part of modern society.
Is this a good thing? Well, probably.
It is great that we can communicate so freely and there are some wonderful stories of especially Twitter being used to spread news around the globe like wildfire but there are also endless tales of trolling and worse. For me, I love to hear about all the things happening in people’s lives – new jobs, achievements, days out with the kids, new products, random acts of kindness and so on. But – and I’m sure I’m not alone here – I don’t love moaning, bitching, complaining, insults, hatred, arguments, bigotry and other generally unconstructive negativity. I’m convinced that Facebook should have a built in virtual therapist for one thing.
Coming up to Christmas last year I was idly browsing Facebook and Twitter, as I do far too often, and I was struck by the idea that if I could just filter out everything that wasn’t an action of some form I would find the experience a whole lot more enjoyable. I am a fairly active person and probably dive in to doing things a bit too readily but then, as they say, you regret the things you don’t do more than the things you do. Anyway, I make websites and mobile apps and I had a relatively clear desk so I thought to myself “let’s make a social network for actions – how hard can it be?” and Karmr is the result. For anyone interested I followed a lot of ideas from the lean startup and wrote a bit about my initial build HERE.
So, how does Karmr work?
Well, in many ways Karmr is like most other social networks in that people post things and there is a browsing and discovery process. There are however a few features that are specific to the platform.
The first is the scoring system where a user can give an action a Karmr point; analogous to a “Like”, and the total Karmr score for each action is tracked. On top of this each user has a Karmr score of their own which is a combination of all their actions’ scores and any bonuses. An action that has a higher score is presumably more interesting, more relevant or has a greater impact than an action with a low score. Within Karmr the top scoring and trending actions are shown separately from the latest actions, hopefully meaning that more interesting content is more prominent. The other impact of the scoring system is a sort of gamification for Karmr users which rewards activities that have a greater impact and are more widely approved of.
The next facet of Karmr to mention is the Home Feed. This is akin to the Facebook News Feed and shows your actions, actions from people you have given Karmr points to and actions those people have given Karmr points to. This achieves two things. First, this mechanism makes the Home Feed both rich as well as relevant so it should make for interesting browsing. Secondly, it provides a feedback loop for people who put more effort in to Karmr in terms of gathering an audience. From a marketeers perspective this is hugely important as it makes it simple to gain a large number of followers – do lots of good and interesting things. For a brand this would probably amount to CSR activity.
The last aspect of Karmr to mention is Rewards. Karmr Rewards allow third parties to physically reward specific actions with goods or coupons according to a set of rules that they can decide. This might be an employer that wants to encourage their staff to reduce their carbon footprint or to work in the community. It might be a brand or charity trying to rally people to a certain cause. Or, it could be a part of government trying to encourage its citizens to act more responsibly.
All in all I hope that Karmr is an enjoyable and rewarding platform to use that empowers and inspires people to do great things. I hope that it provides some real value to corporate entities, brands and charities. But, more than anything, I hope that we can shift our focus to active and positive things and make a real difference in the world.
Like I said – how hard can it be?