New Social Network: Minds, Backed by Anonymous
A new social network has emerged, called Minds, that has been endorsed by the hacktivist collective Anonymous. Minds is a new type of network that promises to rival Facebook by offering more in the way of organic reach for brands. It doesn’t appear to be directly affiliated with Anonymous, despite the media widely reporting that the collective are doing everything from building it to backing it.
However, Anonymous did post an image on one of its Facebook Pages that offered support for this social network and any others that focus on user privacy.
For consumers (and presumably Anonymous itself) the good news about Minds is that all private messages are encrypted. This means that they can’t be intercepted and as such, read by anyone other than the user.
If all this sounds somewhat familiar, then that’s probably because we were promised an alternative to Facebook by another newcomer which hit the headlines back in September. Ello was also billed as the next big thing, due to its focus on user privacy and its promise that the site would never contain any advertising.
However, Ello proved to be not very functional in the first instance and despite now having raised investments of more than $11 million since then, and having implemented a redesign of the front and back end of the site, it still doesn’t have a great deal to offer the average consumer. This is really due to the lack of any recognisable elements in the UI, which is likely to put non-techie users off.
Where Ello has (so far) failed however, Minds is in a much better position to make an impact. It’s still in beta at the moment, but the interface is easy-to-use and relatively familiar in the layout.
For example, on the top bar of the site, you have your profile image, which acts as a link to your own profile, and notifications and messages links. There’s also a link to your Points account, which we’ll talk more about in a little while. The sidebar is equally familiar, navigation wise, and contains the following:
- RSS feeds
From this menu, you can upload images and videos, post your blogs to the site and even add your own site’s RSS feed. There’s also a Bitcoin Wallet for you to store your digital currency in.
When you post an update, or any content, any interactions are rewarded with Points. These can then be redeemed in order to boost the reach of any of your posts.
“For every mobile vote, comment, remind, swipe & upload you earn points which can be exchanged for views on posts of your choice. It’s a new web paradigm that gives everyone a voice,” the text on the website reads.
Speaking to Business Insider, the founder of Minds, Bill Ottman said,
“Our stance is the users deserve the control of social media in every sense.”
He went on to explain that users can “earn virality” thanks to its algorithms, which are designed to make sure that the more you post, the more reach you can gain. The site has been in and out of beta since 2012, but now has a fully-functional network that has seen around 60 million visits so far. However, it’s thought that its userbase is still small at around 30,000.
Whilst Minds is free, it does offer different levels of subscription, some of which you pay for. However, it’s not really very clear on the site what you get for your money. Prices start from $10 per month up to $100, or you can ask for a custom quote.
I spent a fair amount of time on the site today, and couldn’t find any reference to terms and conditions or what you’re paying for. Of course, this might be offered once you’ve requested a paid account and entered your credit card details. That’s enough to put many people off and if Minds is serious about its revenue model then it would do well to populate this page with much more information.
Is it Worth Jumping On Board?
Absolutely. Whilst it’s still in its infancy, it’s one of the better new entrants into social media that we’ve seen recently. It has a good UI and it does what you expect; you can even upload a cover and profile image just like you can on Facebook and Twitter. Status updates work very similarly to Facebook and the ability to upload video and add blogs could easily see it take off.
For brands, Facebook organic reach has been poor for some time and new algorithms rolled out in January have meant that it’s now almost impossible to achieve any organic reach at all. Facebook does have a great targeting system, and it’s worth keeping due to its status as the world’s favourite social network, but unless you’re willing to pay to boost posts, then it’s not worth a lot of time anymore.
Whilst it seems that Minds is just hammering out its revenue models, it’s clear that this has been started with a view to providing a means for brands to connect with followers (or Channels, as they’re known on Minds).
It’s highly likely that in the coming weeks we’ll see some of the big brands jump on board, as the site is being highly publicised, so if you manage your brand’s digital marketing, then being an early adopter could be the best move you make this year.