Last week saw two interesting events for the social media sector. The first was the announcement of regulation, and the planned introduction of an independent regulator. When this is implemented the social media companies, and even the individuals running them, will be held accountable for their actions and inactions.
Be it self harm on Instagram or political manipulation and live streamed mass murder on Facebook, it’s come to the end of the line. It can’t continue.
The second event was the quiet launch of a new social media platform, made here in Yorkshire. For the last nine months together with a software team from Under2.Agency in Manchester we’ve been figuring out what a totally ethical and beneficial social media would look like. And last week we quietly launched the platform. It’s called EthicalMuch.com, and it looks like this:
Firstly, the platform is aimed at ethically minded people. Members can post content relating to life, business, and culture, which covers pretty much everything good. The posts are pre-moderated, so harmful content or content below standards never gets published. There’s a membership subscription fee, starting at £3 per month.
This weeds out 100 per cent of trolls, bots, fake accounts and ‘bad actors’. It also means we don’t need to carry advertising, which means we don’t track and profile users, which means we don’t invade their privacy and sell their data. It’s a totally different business model.
Uniquely we reward members for every post. Posts earn Stars, and Stars earn Prizes. It’s like a game. And it gets even more rewarding. Members can do good deeds and post them on the site. For every good deed published the member receives either a mystery reward, which is rather exciting, or they can choose a charity to receive a £5 donation. Just consider that for a moment. It literally means that picking up some litter, or buying a homeless person a cup of tea, or any one of a million acts of kindness, generates £5 donations to charities. Charities themselves can also become members, and invite their networks to get involved.
I’ve been testing it out. Walking down the street, I’m on the lookout for opportunities to do good deeds, acts of social responsibility, acts of human kindness. It’s become fun, a game of ‘do good get rewarded’.
Social media changes how we think and behave. People with big followings on social media are even referred to as Infuencers.
This can be positive, more usually it’s just about selling stuff, or in some instances it can be tragically negative. EthicalMuch encourages a mindset of ethics, of doing good, of being kind, helpful, and generous. And it makes it into a game whereby posts earn prizes, and good deeds earn rewards and sizeable donations to charities.
There’s more. The membership model means we can do amazing things. For example, for every member joining we use £1 a month towards child sponsorship, raising children across the world out of poverty. Each child costs £25 a month to sponsor. For every 25 members joining we sponsor one more. We’ve sponsored three children already.
One day it could be three thousand, or thirty thousand. And when they’re old enough we’ll invite them into the online community, should they choose to join. We even reward members for inviting new ones.
Social media has changed the world. EthicalMuch is our offering to help change the world into a place where good deeds are rewarded, where charities and businesses work together, where people talk about, write about, and think about ways of doing good, where members in the UK support members in Ghana who were sponsored when they were five years old and now attend university.
We’ve all shown we can build social networks just by joining them. Now let’s do it for good, starting here in Yorkshire, let’s get EthicalMuch.