Debating is at the crux of a strong society — as are online social networks. When combined, they transmute each other into a minefield of negativity, abuse and jealousy. With products now, we are either living in an echo chamber of like-minded people who agree with us all the time, or we’re duking it out into trench war format for little advantage and few opinions changed.
Micgoat is hoping to change that. The item, which officially launched its discussion platform program on the App Store now, uses short presidential debate-style videos to elevate the conversation around controversial subjects. Users of Micgoat can suggest topics such as “will bitcoin crash” & &;ldquo;we should have universal basic income,” and then make a short, one-minute video about the subject. Users who see the movie can then reply with their particular 30-second videos.
The notion is that it’s too easy to troll on conventional social networks, not to mention that bot networks can easily devolve interesting debates. By emphasizing video in its product, Micgoat’s objective is to convince people to speak to one another in a more human manner, reducing that the disinhibition effect which arrives from posting text on line.
The program is the brainchild of Justin Zhen and Gregory Ugwi, the co-founders of Thinknum, a New York-based financial information and analysis platform, along with Marta Lopata, who joined the firm this past year and is now Micgoat’s CEO. Thinknum has formerly raised a seed round from Pejman Mar Ventures.
Having viewed the 2016 U.S. presidential election together with debates on tech issues like bitcoin, the three realized they shared a common fire around the fast degrading quality of debates online. “I believe what a great debate appears like is if there are two people from very different backgrounds that can come together and speak about controversial issues,” Lopata clarified to me. Too frequently, present social networks just don’t even provide that sort of quality.
Lopata, whose heritage is in entrepreneurship and that spent five decades in Asia, considers that a product like Micgoat gets the chance to turn the tide. She highlighted that there are multiple sides to most debates, and that the combination of movie and showing two sides is a powerful antidote to the impression that each of our own perspectives is mechanically correct.
While politics is what most people consider when they hear disagreements, technology and finance are businesses where passions can be even more intense. Those businesses also are extremely familiar to Thinknum, whose clients are financial analysts.
Zhen stated, “Since we have the technology in place, people can debate sports, or even local politics. Right now, there is no efficient channel for local politicians to get up before the components, because Fox News and CNBC don’t insure those races. We can be just part of the everyday dialogue. ”
Thinknum staff are helping with the product development and technology of this item now. Lopata claims that “Right now we see a balance of working together, and we can see us turning out. ” There are 3 full-time workers on Micgoat, and yet another seven members borrowed from the center Thinknum team.
Long-term, the team expects to add more “gamification” features to encourage everyone in the area to interact with the debates. In addition, the team is optimizing its search algorithms so users will have the ability to better find the most interesting debates. Zhen suggested that sound transcription will allow for greater hunting while maintaining the video experience of this program. The company also intends to launch an Android version shortly.
Thus far, abuse hasn’t been a problem, according to the company. Zhen believes that the combination of Facebook identity and showing one’s confront in the program helps decrease the abuse that can be endemic on different platforms. Since the platform scales up, the team intends to be very cautious to ensure that the community remains positive even when talking tough challenges.