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Biographical social media platform

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw May 27, 2021
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Juran's contribution to my idea for Everyone's biography got me thinking about social media platforms a bit. This led to the following idea:

Instead of a biography book, or website, my original idea could be turned into a brand new social media platform that actually does give more biographical details than the existing platforms. I was thinking "how would I organize my own information if I were to write an autobiography" and realized that that in itself could be an app or website.

  1. The platform would focus on your past, rather than follow the current model of "what's happening in your life right now".
  2. Friends would not be added at random, they would have to be connected to a story or event in your past, which they would have to approve. Doing this would add the story/event to their profile as well, in this way, people would help build each other's biographies. You might be able to read other peoples bio's even if you aren't "friends", depending on your privacy preferences, but to be connected you would have to share at least one memory together.
  3. Your page would be organized chronologically, meaning that if you added an event that happened 20 years ago, it would not show on top of your page, but rather under the appropriate year.
  4. Certain questions that encourage stories would be available for you to answer. Things like "What was one of your most memorable moments from school/university?", "Do you remember the first vehicle you owned?" etc. As soon as you answer these questions they would also be added under the appropriate year.
  5. For each year/decade you would be able to add lists of musicians you were listening to, books you were reading, sporting teams you were following, people you admired. These answers would then automatically be linked to (for instance) a Wikipedia page of what albums/books they had out at that time, how those teams were performing in that era and so on.
  6. Comments/likes/shares would be obsolete. Friends would only be able to send you messages or contribute to your stories.
  7. There would also be a space for memorable events like concerts or parties you attended, milestones, jobs and any other relevant moments.
  8. Dated photos/videos could also be added.
  1. This way, you wouldn't need a team to compose biographies, people would essentially be doing it themselves and for their friends.
  2. It might also be a very positive alternative to the current platforms which are known to harm our mental health through their model of likes and follows by eliminating the "popularity" factor and simply turning it into a historical record.
  3. It could also help encourage writing, as stories would be longer than the average tweets/posts.
  4. It could help people really get to know each other, as we discussed earlier, the available platforms do really share stories about people's lives. They tend to be more focussed on popularity and trends than personal anectdotes and stories.
  5. Like my idea for the biographies, apart from helping people to get to know one another, a profile on this platform could be a keepsake to reminisce on in your old age, or for your loved ones to return to after you pass away, parents could also set up a profile for their children which they can then later take over and manage themselves for a more complete account.

Is this something you would be interested in?
Are there any other features you would like to see on a platform like this?



Creative contributions

The "think-abouts" to think about in forward

Juran May 28, 2021


Today I read that Facebook and Instagram now have the option to hide the number of likes under the posts. That way they wanted to reduce the pressure and anxiety caused by the "popularity" factor, which @Spook also mentioned as one of the platform's features.

Does it mean a new problem is approaching - close competition?
Well, if I understood correctly, the biographical social network would definitely not rely on people's opinions and this doesn't change anything. Although this seems revolutionary for Facebook and Instagram users, it doesn't change anything for Facebook. They will still track what you like and comment on and offer you personalized posts/stories/reels and ads. So, the experience will stay personalized and we will still be targeting a different type of user engagement. One step forward for Facebook, but the storm is still not in @Spook's county!

But that got me thinking.

The flow of events

It's necessary to be one step ahead and think like the platform is already here.
  1. So, you can sign up, edit your name and surname, personal information, and then you start adding events.
  2. You slowly add many events like education, jobs, courses, summer schools, projects, congresses, concerts, festivals, trips, visits, etc.
  3. Then you think of the stories connected to these events and add them to some of the events.
  4. People confirm attendance at your events and suggest more.
  5. More and more events start to appear and you find a bunch of friends.
  6. Then you find some old buddies you haven't seen in a long time and message them. You share stories and add more events and more people. It happens in loops.
  7. You meet a girl you like and check her profile. You scroll down filter, and search for an event - possible conversation subjects. Then you apply for a job and the other people do the same thing with your profile.

The arising "think-abouts"

From the basic principle of the platform, I would maybe say that the trickiest thing would be to keep a person on board at the beginning, while it's still not so fun. Therefore, a good guide is needed when you sign up! It could be a set of balloons or the game-like unlocking of the possibilities by finishing easy tasks/reaching milestones. The focus should be on the biographical segment of the platform.

The next thing could be the privacy issue. It's maybe important to highlight that you can choose the type/amount of your private information to be visible. Maybe allowing certain people who share a higher number of events with you to see more could be a nice strategy. Certain events could be scored higher than the others (if you went to college with someone, it means much more than if you went to a festival). But it should be also customizable.

The other thing that could become the problem would be the validity of the information. To ensure that all the info is correct, I would require a mobile phone verification or anything that could reduce the chance of fake profiles. Also, to ensure the event is legit, there should be validated for each event. It could be proof that the event happened (ticket, receipt, Facebook event), or the confirmation from at least 2 more people that the event took place.

When you build your profile and are happy with your profile/CV, then the focus should change to the social segment.

PS Sorry for the long text, I am just very excited about this and would like to share my flow of thoughts.


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Spook Louw
Spook Louw5 months ago
I completely agree, the user experience would improve dramatically only once people have a "complete" profile. So we'd need to get them there as quick as possible without boring them with arbitrary details. This process can also be gamified, as you mentioned. Another idea is to add some comic relief which could also serve as examples/inspirations - upon signing up, before beginning to edit a new segment the site could show you an example (perhaps of a famous person) that could interest/entertain/inspire you before you have to start submitting your own details.

As for the validity of information, perhaps you could earn a "verified" tag or badge for every story that you post that is provable or confirmed.

Please don't apologize, your contribution is appreciated and I think one of the ideal effects of this app would be to stop people from being scared as soon as they encounter some reading/writing work. As it is, social media is catering for shorter and shorter attention spans. Posts, captions and even videos are limited to make people get their message across as quickly as possible. This app would celebrate expressing yourself properly and in full.
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Where do I sign up?

Juran May 27, 2021
Haha, I am glad if I helped you get to this idea. I think it's seriously amazing and this is why.

I love the idea of focusing on the past. People often forget things they did and how they lived through. Besides a cool approach towards autobiography, getting to know each other better, and having a resume ready whenever you need it, the platform could help people remind themselves of how strong they were in hard moments of their lives and give them the motivation to keep on going (aka not to make the same mistake again).
Also, I like how you want to retain the „autobiography-like“ approach by removing likes/shares/comments and by adding only the people who are connected with your event. Really cool and also a good way to confirm the truthfulness of all the events. I imagine random people adding politicians or famous people as coparticipants in funny events :D It could also help to make society more transparent.
The idea under the fifth (5.) point is very cool and is compatible with @Povilas's idea about musical libraries as biographical content.

A feature idea:

  • Filtering
It would be cool (as I mentioned in your earlier session) if you could filter people's biographies by certain categories (life events, education, free time, etc, to see only what you are interested in. It would also help the account holder to adapt it in seconds and export it as a customized biography.
  • Monetizing
It would be nice if you could choose several templates. Few default ones could be free, but here is also an open playground for graphic designers to step in and earn some cash.

Honestly @Spook, I am totally interested in this. I see this platform somewhere between Facebook and LinkedIn. It would be more informative than both, fun to surf on, but still very professional (even for the job search). If you need an assistant to help you with the implementation, I would be excited to help!
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw5 months ago
Thanks, Juran, I think this perfectly illustrates the value of the Brainstorming.com platform, your contribution definitely helped turn my idea into something I am much more excited about than the original idea.

There would definitely be filtering capabilities, as well as the option to see which of your connections were perhaps listening to the same bands, reading the same books, attending the same events or participating in/supporting the same sport around the same time you were. I think this could allow people to discover that they may have known/moved in the same circles as their current friends long before they became friends. This adds another connection point: "Oh, did you see this band at this venue in 2003? I was also there!" or "You played for that team? I was at that game!"

I've pitched this idea to some of my friends and their main concern seems to be that they believe the market is monopolized and there is no room for any new approaches to social media. I don't agree with that at all. I'd like to do some more research, but as I told Darko Savic in a private conversation, I really am excited about this.

Thanks again for your help and support, I'll message you soon.
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Juran5 months ago
Spook Louw Thank you for sharing it with us. I am excited to see what other people will say or add. Also, I would be proud to be among the first users on your platform!
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw May 28, 2021
The nearest resemblance to this idea I've been able to find are journaling apps like DayOne and 5 Minute Journal which are paid apps that seem very elementary.
Then I also found a website called The Life Writer, and I thought they might have beaten me to it, but they really just sell an organizational "system" that helps you write an autobiography, at an expensive fee too.

So as far as I can tell there are no similar ideas available at the moment
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Remarkable lives

Spook Louw
Spook Louw Jun 03, 2021
While I firmly believe that this platform would prove that each and every one of us has a couple of great stories to share there's no denying that there have been people throughout history who have lived truly exceptional lives.

An added feature to the platform could be to create profiles for these people. Albert Einstein, Michelangelo and Walt Disney are a couple of names that spring to mind. Writers could be paid to do the necessary research to create profiles for them and these profiles could serve as interesting reading material, as well as templates to show how to tell a story in a way that engages readers.

As I've mentioned before, getting a few celebrities to create profiles would do the same, but they would have to write their own stories, whereas there could be a section dedicated to profiles of interesting historical figures.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw Jun 25, 2021
Povilas S's comment on this session made me wonder about the value of anonymity on a platform like this. The main goal of the platform is to share stories of your past, but some of those stories may implicate people who do not want to be connected to those stories.
There are two obvious options: One, you can change the names of the people in your story, but that makes it difficult to verify anything. Or two, you can choose to omit those stories completely, but that would remove some of the best potential content on the platform.

The only solution I can think of so far is to add another option to the verification process. As soon as someone is tagged they basically get three options:
  1. Yes, that story is true and I don't mind having my name attached.
  2. Yes, that story is true, but I do not want to be connected to it.
  3. No, that story is not true.

The second option would then allow you to confirm a story but have your name left out, it would be less of a verification than the first option, but at least the story would not be unverified or declared as false.

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni4 months ago
Nice idea! Maybe post this suggestion on this (https://brainstorming.com/identity-verification-for-social-media-website/509) session, too.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw Jul 05, 2021
Another feature that would be very cool to incorporate at some point (this might only be further down the line, I think it would be quite difficult to pull off well) is the option to add illustrations to your stories.
If you wanted to illustrate your story yourself and upload it as a photo, that would be quite simple, but I'm thinking of adding a tool to the platform that allows users to illustrate their stories from customizable templates. Similar to, but less cheesy than Facebook Avatars.
Alternatively, it could also create a market for designers and illustrators to sell custom illustrations for use on the platform. This would help with the aesthetics of the site as well as being a cool way for people to differentiate their profiles from other people while adding to their stories.
This would ultimately be another avenue, apart from the stories themselves, to express your style and personality.
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The design needs to be fun (teens) but professional (adults) if you want revenue

Juran May 27, 2021
In my opinion, the platform should focus extensively on design. Did you think about it? The key thing, in my opinion, would be to make it simple and fluid, but fun, because you want users to spend time on the site, right? Although many older people use the internet, you need everybody to make an account and spend time - teens and adults/professionals. Therefore, you need to make it "fun-able" for those who want fun. That could be done through skins maybe. What do you think?
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw5 months ago
I have thought about it. I thought the design could also play a part in telling your story. So the idea I'm working on is that perhaps the skin changes depending on the era you are viewing. It could either be photos of you at that time somehow integrated into the layout, or just the general theme of your life at that stage illustrated. If you were a first-team rugby player in high school, that probably represented the largest portion of your persona at the time, so your high school years could be rugby themed. Skaters, punks, jocks, goths, party animals, studious kids, everyone in had a theme, so your page could represent that. University could be much of the same, perhaps with fraternities, sororities and academic fields added, after that, I assume most people mostly identify as their jobs, so that could be integrated visually, but the beauty of the system is that it could be made to be whatever you want.

You mentioned selling skins in a previous contribution, that could work, but it might limit it to what we can produce. If we allow people to make and upload their own, places like etsy.com and creativemarket.com could be filled with personalized skins for our platform. While we won't make money from that, it would allow users to customize their pages as much as they want, adding to the experience and therefore adding to the value of our idea.

Do you have another suggestion for integrating skins?
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Juran5 months ago
Spook Louw I like the skin changing depending on the era or the highlight from it.
You are right concerning skin monetization.

Here are some ideas I have:
- With skin changing depending on the era, so could change the musical background
- Skins could be adaptable like Gmail (default, comfortable, compact), but in a way that they show different contents, based on what you'd like to see on other people's profiles. (minimal - only "user-pinned" contents, entertaining, professional)

I'll add new ones when I think of them. :)
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Name suggestions?

Spook Louw
Spook Louw Jun 02, 2021
I've been busy designing a mockup of what the website would look like. Will post it here soon. Does anyone have any suggestions for a name though?

I've been playing around with the words "biography", "memoir", "my life" and "recollections" but have not found anything with a .com domain name available.

I'd appreciate any suggestions.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni5 months ago
How about -
whathaveIdone (I don't know, haha)

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw5 months ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni I like memoiries but the domain name is unfortunately not available.

ngobomi.com is available. Ngobomi is the Zulu word for "for life", I'm just wondering if using a Zulu word would be a cool attraction for international users, or if it would actually just be too obscure and foreign to be marketable.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni5 months ago
Spook Louw I have the same concern. Till we find something better, we can keep ngobomi.com on the table.

A few more, just in case:
1. indulgeinme
2. mysevenseas
3. watchmelive
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Mentoring and Counseling can be added to the Main Purposes of such a Platform

Samuel Bello
Samuel Bello Jul 25, 2021
This type of social media platform could be extended to make it a source of counseling and mentoring. The counseling from this platform will be given by people who have experienced something closely related to what you are passing through.
Apart from connecting people for productive purposes, such a social media platform is going to be very active because it connects people who probably have the most to talk about. For example, High school students can be connected to first years that are on scholarships. This type of mentoring could increase the success rates of the platform’s members since everyone can be made into a coach on the things that they are most familiar with and they are connected to those who need their coaching the most. The kind of knowledge and counseling found in books or practiced by specialists are usually given from a general point of view rather than from the more specific point of view that people who have similar experiences address the situation.
Such a social media platform will also raise the empathy levels of users. In a situation where someone loses a loved one, condolences will be more heartfelt when they come from people who have lost loved ones in similar situations.
The mentoring and counselling services can serve as a source of livelihood for older people. Older people usually a have a lot of experience and ideas but not enough energy to pursue some of the causes they are interested in. Helping like-minded younger people will give them stronger sense of purpose. Another major difference between this platform and existing platforms is that one does not need to do much to have many contacts. Like-minded people and people with similar experiences will gravitate towards you without having to upload nice pictures and post messages regularly. You just have to write a bio.
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