How an Instagram famous cat led us to build a new social network
So I have this ridiculously cute Meow Bear named Sashimi (last name Meow). And she’s so adorable that we gave Sashimi her very own Instagram account. There’s something special about Sashimi – she’s broken and thinks she’s a dog. We’d go jogging on the beach and she’d follow me around town. Before long, Sashimi Meow had 30,000+ followers and thousands of likes on every photo. And then it all stopped.
Left - Sashimi Meow, circa 2014 - 4600 likes
Right - Sashimi Meow, circa 2015 - 1200 likes (but still cute)
The likes stopped coming. And I thought to myself GUR, what is going on? It ain’t as if Sashimi Meow got any less cute. She’s the Meow Bear, that’s impossible. And then I noticed it wasn’t just on Instagram… people across the entire social media spectrum were just all around bored, disengaged and no longer posting. You would see headlines like these:
Instagram interaction dropped 40% last year, and other bad news – Venture Beat
Apparently no one’s looking for sex on Tinder anymore, says survey - Complex
Is Snapchat losing its cool? – CNN
Facebook will lose 80% of users by 2017, say Princeton researchers - Time
They called it “social media fatigue.” And for good reason, because modern social media remains too impersonal, unsatisfactory, and focused on ego validation. So you segregate your social networks. Close friends & family get Facebook’d. You swipe unsuccessfully on Tinder until your thumb is sore and Tinder wants money. Then you join LinkedIn and find out the horde of thirsty men from Tinder has followed you over to the job site. Nevertheless, you get liked and liked and told you’re hot over and over again until, BAM! A dick pic. Raise your hand if this has happened to you.
And don’t get me started on Snapchat. I once saw a teen shouting at himself in the mirror in a crowded airport bathroom just to create a Snap. Everyone around him was startled and became genuinely concerned about his mental health. If you ask me to point a bright white screen at myself at night and make sexy faces for a flower crown, I’d say thanks… but no thanks.
I thought to myself that the alternative – building yet another social network – was a fool’s errand. Look what happened to Ello and Peach. You can’t go up against the Zuckerberg machine. Momma didn’t raise no fool. And a new dating site? There are way too many of those and I wasn’t about to offer another useless one (I’m talking about you, Farmers Only.com).
I wanted to help people engage in genuine conversation without resorting to lowest common denominator spam. To do that properly, we had to create a novel method to reward meaningful social engagement over the long term. So I crashed an Argentinian wedding to round up a kick-ass team and 16 months later, we’re launching our Public Beta in Canada today.
Groom: “I didn’t know I had an Asian friend?”
Ching: “Well, you do now!”
We want Oppa to be a search engine for people – an amplified social engagement engine to discover interesting people and interesting content. If you’re traveling to New York and love food, you’ll find great people ready to talk with you about the best places to eat. If you’re a bit lonely & looking for a cutie nearby, it’s done in an effective manner where the spam incentive is removed. And if you want to ask a dermatologist about that suspicious mole hiding where the sun don’t shine – yup, we have them on Oppa too.
Oppa is the world’s first social Tip Jar enabling anyone – not just celebrities – to make money off their social media content
Oppa is the world’s first social Tip Jar enabling anyone – not just celebrities – to make money off their social media content. This may just all be an expensive lesson in human nature but it would give me great delight to see two people staring at their phone screen saying something like, “ERMAHGERD Becky, just how big is your Piggy Bank?”
So, Hello World – this is our contribution to modern social media. We hope you like our approach. Find me on Oppa @ching and I’ll share a drink with you! And if you have an iPhone in one of our beta launch countries, try the app out here.
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