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What is a Krowd?

December 20, 2012

In short its the social networking app created by Krowdthink.  But thats does not tell you much, especially as we have not launched the app itself yet, it enters 1st public test in Q1 2013, email here if you are interested in supporting any of the test phases.

Our start point for the Krowd concept was the crowd, a group of people congregating in a location because they have a common interest or purpose.  So by definition some of those people are people you may want to connect with.

But as a concept, what is a Krowd? We define the Krowd on our website as a trusted social network to connect like minds.

There are three key components to this statement: ‘trusted’, ‘connect’ and ‘like minds’.  Lets expand on each of these:

‘Trusted’ – we outline what we mean on our website and a previous blog,  here and here. These values are especially important when put into the context of connecting people.

‘Connect’ – when you combine online social networking and mobile devices you bring in the potential for location-based value.  We believe the ultimate value of a social network should be to facilitate the face-to-face meeting, yet no online social networks to date have made this their top service focus to their users. When we say connect, we don’t just mean virtually in the cloud, but potentially in reality face-to-face. So the Krowd app is as much an intellectual introductory service as it is a social network.  But to be able to make a decision to meet someone you know is nearby, you’d like to check them out anonymously, to validate they have common interests.  But we don’t want to expose our personal profile to everyone just because they happen to be in the same place at the same time. We need to be able to define our profile so that is contextual to the type of crowd we are in.  If at a sport event, we might be happy for people to know which team we support, how long we’ve been a supporter, our thoughts on previous matches we’ve watched or on particular players we’ve seen. But we may not want to expose other aspects of our social life. For example you might not want to expose the fact that you are deeply into fashion when at the sports event….or maybe you do…who knows, whatever, it should be your choice as to how many of the personal onion layers of self that you indicate to those in a crowd by means of introduction, and even once connected you still may only want that connection to be contextual to your common interest.

‘Like Minds’ – how do we assess someone is of a like mind before we meet?  at a sports event we maybe able to see what colours they wear, but online we don’t have the same visual cues.  So in the Krowd we enable people to be able to create a profile that is specific to the type of Krowd they are in.  The profile is based on a series of mini-personal-blogs we call Klogs (Krowd logs), that you build up over time.  People can comment on your Klog and you can respond to those comments.  When you do, that event is fed into the Krowd feed which combines real-time chat at the event with status information such as people joining or leaving the Krowd or posting or commenting on a Klog.  Its a real-time broadcast channel that you can use to chat with everyone in the Krowd.  If you want to get personal, invite them to a Bubble for a private, yet still anonymous, chat.  Meet face-to-face once you get comfortable or just engage with the virtual, but totally localised, Krowd conversation.

For those interested, I can point you towards many useful papers on the need for multiple identities/persona online, as a means of protecting identity or as a means of sustaining privacy in contexts you care about.  But here is my over-arching observation – current leading social networks are structured to be essentially one-dimensional in terms of the aspect of your persona you can decide to expose.  Linkedin for business, facebook for friendship/social (despite their attempts to be all things to all people, they don’t engender user trust to allow these initiatives to be properly embraced).  Google+ is trying to address this issue, but they undermined their own efforts with the demands for real identity.  Again its that trust issue that creeps in and creeps people out.  My first blog post was about Online Privacy – but in reality its a trust issue, and gaining user trust in your company and social networking app is the critical building block of a next generation social network.  We have mentioned location based capability in this post – and nothing creeps people out more then the idea that where they are and when they are there is tracked….in my next post we’ll discuss our thoughts ideas and mission with respect to achieving a location based service that has no check-in needs and does not know where you are – and does not need or even want to know.

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