Awsm exists, ultimately, to help people be excellent to each other.
We built this app for ourselves, but hope that other people who may have the same need we did will find it and use it for the same reasons (or maybe even better ones) that we do:
- Not all content people create has the same value for their entire audience. Some content (photos, audio, text, video) might only be relevant, or valuable to me personally (journal, vision board, daily affirmations, etc). There are journaling apps that let me create and save this type of stuff, but that’s all they do. I do have other content that I want to share with specific people (like just my spouse, or each of my kids individually/separately, my close groups of friends, my team, my parents/grandparents, or my siblings). Not even all the content I create has the same value to each of these people or groups, so I want to share specific things with them separately while giving them the ability to like, comment, or share similar stuff with me as well. And finally, there are some things that I might want to share very publicly, with anyone who will pay attention. Some of my hobbies, things I’ve learned how to do that I might want to teach others, opinions or movements I’d like to get some broader momentum behind, etc. And, some of this public stuff might even be valuable to certain people that I could charge (and get paid for) this content. But in this final example, I wouldn’t want advertisers or third-party organizations inserted into my messages or preventing me from reaching my audience with a pure, un-manipulated timeline.
- Some people don’t care about privacy, but we do. I’m sick and tired of Facebook stalking me and my friends and family and using information about us in manipulative, sometimes evil, ways. I also don’t want ads shoved down my throat, regardless of how “relevant” they might be to me. It’s creepy that actions or comments I take, or make, in other apps on my phone can be used by Facebook to manipulate what type of stuff I see on their apps (Instagram and WhatsApp and tbh are all owned by Facebook – some people still aren’t aware of that fact).
- Few things are ever really “free”. You’ve probably heard the phrase by now, “If you’re not paying for the product, you ARE the product.” Free internet and social media apps have conditioned us all to believe that apps, and digital content, should be free. In order for companies to provide these valuable things to us without charging for them, they have to find alternative means of generating revenue, otherwise they would go out of business. The problem is, most of the things they currently do to generate revenue come with really negative consequences for us, the end users. The current social apps have to learn as much about us as possible (who we know, what we like, where we live, gender, age, race, buying preferences, political preferences, education level, and much more) so they can sell targeted advertising to anyone who will pay them. They pimp us out to advertisers (or more nefarious groups) without us even knowing it. That’s not cool, even though for them it’s been incredibly profitable. Some people may be willing to make this trade-off, but now that we fully understand the implications, we’ve decided that we’re not.
- Current social media is broken. Social media was supposed to “help connect the world” and help us “build and strengthen relationships” with each other. However, because of the necessity the social platforms have had to pursue the revenue model I described above, they’ve also had to allow a lot of negative, ugly things happen. For example, most social networks have allowed people to have fake profiles – make up any username and email address and you can create a profile. This was allowed under the banner of “free speech” but really it was meant to increase user growth numbers as rapidly as possible (which would help them charge more money for advertising and/or raise more money from investors). With millions of fake profiles out there, people could do or say anything they wanted, with no social (or legal) consequences. They could bully other people, spew hate and racism and bigotry, share porn or sexually prey upon younger or naive users, post fake news, share false information, or spread rumors that would destroy reputations, halt positive movements, silence unpopular or minority opinions, or even influence elections. Counting and publicly displaying “likes” has also created an online popularity contest where people’s self-worth and happiness are tied to the volume of social reinforcement or acknowledgement they receive. Engagement and feedback are critical and valuable, but there are better ways to do it without making users addicted to, or dependent upon, the number of likes they are getting.
- Social media is mainly based on temporary, fleeting or forgettable content. We endlessly scroll through new content being shared (mostly not by our friends and family any more) because we’re curious to see what’s new. It’s there, and then it’s gone. We want an app that helps us capture (and sometimes share) the moments and memories that matter most and keep them forever. We want to easily find and play back those moments whenever we’re bored, lonely, discouraged, or just have a few minutes to burn. We want to create albums for our kids and not only store the photos and videos of them doing awsm things, but also add some thoughts, advice, words of love and encouragement, and describe our feelings about those moments so that when they’re gone they’ll have their life albums stored in the cloud and accessible in their pocket. We’ll be one click away, even after we’re gone and they’re capturing their kids’ lives. Like carrying around the shoebox of all your best memories and being able to shuffle through them whenever you want, wherever you want, and share some of them with the people that were part of those memories.
We are pretty passionate about solving these problems, at least for ourselves. Maybe nobody else will care, but our bet is that there are a handful of people out there that will. So we’re building the app for us, and for you.
We’ll use the concept of Albums to allow people to control exactly who sees what content they create and want to save.
Our business model will not be based on selling data, or shoving ads down your throat. We’ll charge, eventually, for data storage and/or to sync your data with another storage provider of your preference. And we’ll come up with some other ways to generate revenue that benefit our users first, and us second.
We won’t allow fake profiles in Awsm. You have to be you. You can have fake profiles and be an internet troll somewhere else, but here you will interact with the people you know (or want to know) and want to build and strengthen genuine relationships with.
We’ll also store, and protect, your content so you’ll be able to access it anywhere, anytime, and forever. We will have to charge you money to do this, so some of you won’t use our app. But for those of you who see this as a valuable service, we’ll always be transparent about what we’re charging and why we’re charging for it so you can decide whether you want to use it or not.
Finally, we appreciate and thrive on user feedback. We may not be able to incorporate every request you make, but we’ll certainly listen, and do our best to continuously improve the app so you’ll love it and want to share it with everyone you know. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the form located here.