The internet exploded over the past decade. The rise of apps, messengers, and bots has massively transformed how we communicate, access information and connect.
We are truly living in exciting times, considering that the internet has been around only for 30 years, which from a historical perspective are still relatively recent. But one thing is for sure, the internet will continue to make life better.
Of course, many things are going right but also a lot of things went wrong. The Internet that made free speech possible is now blamed for spreading hate and terror. Fake news dominates conversation and facebook stands accused of allowing third parties to manipulate data in a way that threatens democracy. What we can say is that the internet faces challenges. But that’s ok. that’s part of evolution. We look back, reflect, learn and we correct course.
Tools such as Facebook, Instagram, Slack, Telegram have been innovative in introducing interactions that are effortless, delightful and habit shaping in connecting, communicating and accessing information. But there are two inherent flaws with these tools:
- The trends are towards centralization and monopolization instead of the free, open internet that represented a set of decentralized connections between idiosyncratic actors.
- They promote the over-saturation of content and connections. We are not designed to live in an age of plenty. We are designed to live in groups, connect with a highly targeted and engaged community.
For many people around the world, the internet will be a set of narrow portals where they exchange their data for a specific set of communication, information and consumer services.
That is why we are building Tribe.
Tribe is a collection of best social interaction practices provided to brands, businesses, and creators packaged with a pearl of wisdom needed to use the power of technology to make their own tool without writing code.
What are these best social interaction practices?
While building Tribe as a community platform, we had an “Aha” moment.
We learned that communities are diverse. They come in many different shapes and sizes. While each is unique, they have different needs and objectives.
Youtube is a community of watchers shaped around the medium of video. Instagram is shaped around photos and shorter videos. Soundcloud is a community of listeners and artists shaped around the audio files.
These platforms established a two-way connection between content providers and content consumers vs the traditional pipeline model.
Interestingly enough, observing most of these platforms, while they all revolve around a specific medium, they all have some fundamentals in common:
It all started with Facebook introducing “likes” as a feedback mechanism. Before that, some other form of interactions with functionalities such as downvote and upvote was also introduced by social networks like Digg which Youtube still utilizes. Then Slack came along and made it fully customizable by enabling to react to posts with emojis.
The backbone of conversations. It all started with blog platforms enable commenting on long posts and then evolved into the ability to pretty much comment on anything. From commenting on paragraphs on Google Docs to commenting on part of audio waves on Soundcloud. Now add the power of reaction to comment and we have a whole new component.
Feed changed how we consume content forever. Instead of navigating page to page, a linear endless chronological stream of activities gives you a reason to keep checking without thinking. Utilizing Feed made Facebook what it is today. And the mechanism was a perfect fit for mobile screens. With mindless scrolling to the bottom, you can not go wrong.
Notifications are a way to inform users when new data becomes available. It all started with that pretty little bell icon and then evolved into brand new frameworks like push notifications and now even your browsers can send you notifications from websites.
The most important component of personalization. It fills the gap between what you get notified and what your feed shows. Joining a channel on Slack, subscribing to a YouTube channel or following an artist on Spotify is a form of consent that shapes how your feed and notification behave.
These concepts have been borrowed from the social networks era. Many apps are and will employ these concepts to build around new functionalities.
We do believe it takes focus and craftsmanship to truly build an outstanding software. So for the first quarter of 2020, we would only focus on making a solid foundation for these 5 components.
We believe if we get these essential parts right, it will lead a long way for us to build new apps that extends the functionalities of tribes and eventually opens up the platform to developers to build on top of it. All the new apps and integrations need to be able to communicate with these components flawlessly and that’s why we are going to double down on making sure they do what they are supposed to do.
The catch is we are aiming to make them fully customizable. Comments can be a linear or thread-based conversation. Feeds can be sorted and filtered. Notifications will be digestible and most importantly all components can have different views.
We are very excited about the future of the Internet and how Tribe can enable people to utilize and humanize the way we interact with technology. And we are not doing this alone. We are blessed that we are building this product with constant feedback of community builders who are using Tribe. We check every new decision with them, reflect, learn and correct course.
We have also decided that we are going to make our roadmap publicly available. You can expect to see that by end of January.
I also wrote another piece on Why we named our startup “Tribe”
And here is the link to Tribe website www.tribe.so