“Backspace is the democratization of the discoverability and shareability of in-the-moment experiences. It’s turning over the power to the user; the power to truly express one’s self and decide how long content stays relevant and discoverable by other users. It’s letting ordinary people control their experiences and the information that determine how they see the world. When you have the power to decide, that’s when you have true freedom”
-Justin Romano, Backspace CEO.
If you’re anything like me, you’re big into social media and you’ve at least played around with all of the bigger platforms. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, you name it. Social media has always been very interesting to me. I’m particularly interested in the major shifts and trends in social media and how people have used social media to communicate, share, and consume content and their experiences over the course of time.
In the late 90s, we saw the first instant messengers like AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). It was a great way to have casual conversation over the web back when the internet was young.
*Bonus points if you can remember your screen name. Mine was BuddyBoy129. Judge me!.. Ok. Fine. It was actually pretty lame.
However, there was some shortcomings. With AIM, users had no way of discovering new people or content. In the early 2000s, the first social networks opened up the social landscape and allowed people to finally discover new people and content. However, people began realizing that what they say and do online is permanent and can come back to haunt them, causing people to censor themselves.
So, in the early 2010s, we saw the first messengers with self-destructing or disappearing content. Instead of trying to get that flawless selfie with perfect lighting and your good side really shining through, Snapchat became that medium where you can send that (not-so-perfect) selfie to your friend. These snaps were sent directly to individual friends and it would disappear in 10 seconds or less.
We asked ourselves, “what is the next logical step in this trend?”
But we still saw a major hole. Just like the instant messengers from the 90s, there was no way to discover new users or content all within the platform.
We asked ourselves, “What is the next logical step in this trend?” Based on our own personal opinions and experiences, we knew what kind of social network we wanted. We had what we believed to be a very good guess as to where we thought social media was going, but we wanted to get an idea from others too. We decided to ask a few people what their thoughts were on social media and how they use it. Well, “a few people” eventually turned into more than 1,000 people. Over the course of a year, we conducted more than 1,000 face-to-face interviews with people as young as 13 to as old as around 35 to study their social media habits and what they like and what they don’t like about each respective social platform.
The results were very clear
The respondents that were between the ages of 13-26 had very similar responses, while those in the 27+ category varied slightly. Focusing on the younger segment of this study, these social media users want to express themselves without worrying that what they say or do online remains permanent on the internet.
Think of it this way: When you’re hanging out with your friends, you probably have a very natural interaction. This is probably because what you say or do when having a face-to-face conversation with a friend isn’t being recorded. I’m sure you’d agree.
Our respondents also see value in having access to the world outside of their immediate network of friends and family. They love being in the know and staying up-to-date with trending topics and what’s happening today and only today.
Now here’s where it get’s really interesting…
9 out of 10 social media users expressed that not only do they want what they share to disappear after a predetermined amount of time, but also they want the ability to influence the lifespan or exposure of another user’s post depending on if they actually found value in that post.
So what does this all mean?
These users want a social network where your posts have a lifespan and disappear after that lifespan is up, a social network where that post’s lifespan/exposure can be influenced by other users (not a complex algorithm), and where you can easily discover new users, trending topics, and topics of interest that must be enjoyed today and in the moment; before they delete or disappear.
Our original guess was very much in line with what the other users told us. So we built it and called it Backspace.
The name came from the “backspace” button on your keyboard. Clever, right? =P
So what is Backspace?
I’m so glad you asked. Backspace is the only full social networking community where everything shared disappears in 24 hours, giving users the ability to freely share their experiences through photos, videos, and thoughts. On Backspace, users decide which posts get the most exposure. When a user likes a post, that post’s lifespan is extended; allowing the more popular posts to live longer (up to 48 hours) to be enjoyed by more people.
Think of it this way: Backspace is to Snapchat, as Facebook is to AIM.
To start off, we tested that with 30 people that we personally knew. Those original 30 friends told a friend, who told a friend, who told another friend, and so on. A few months later, there were more than 1300 people using Backspace. Needless to say, we were pretty excited. But we still had a lot of work to do. We ended up rebuilding the app from the ground-up and we’re VERY excited to show you the next version of the app. The app will be launching in November 2016 and you can get first dibs by reserving a spot on our website at www.BackspaceApp.co.
Most popular social networks are all about creating memories. Backspace is all about enhancing and discovering experiences. There’s truly nothing like it.