Today’s Social Platforms Are Dangerous. Can Mappen Build a Safer One?

Social media needs the surgeon general's warning. No, it's not a hyperbole. We know that social media is very addictive . We know that intensive use results in less less momentary happiness and less life satisfaction. And as for tobacco products, we know that teenage use is particularly dangerous: a study conducted on 500,000 teenagers revealed that an excessive control time promotes depression, the # Anxiety and suicide . A new app, Mappen, may look like other social media apps, but the comparison is like tobacco versus kale with regards to the health of the users.

The story of society's awareness of the damage done by social media also reflects that of the tobacco industry. Leaders have swept the risks of social media for years. It was only before independent studies pointed in the opposite direction that the and possibly the employees told the truth: social media is bad for health. Can Mappen really be so different?

Making social media social again: Mappen

Even the CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg now admits that regulation of social media is inevitable. But unlike alcohol and tobacco, social media is an artificial sin and not an uncovered fact. In addition, unlike alcohol and tobacco, the use of social media has undeniable benefits, such as the facilitation of relationships between long-time friends.

The question is whether the evolution of social media like Mappen represents a real leap forward? More specifically, is it possible to preserve the benefits of social networks while reducing its disadvantages?

Some players in the world of technology seem to think so, especially with regard to interpersonal interactions. After launching Jott, a messaging platform for users without a permanent Internet connection, Jason Allgood co-founded Mappen a social networking application designed to help teens connect to the real world. Allgood was concerned that, while teens were massively using social media, only 22% of them spend time with their friends after class, and Mappen was his answer.

"We realized that the antidote was not to tell teens to stop using social media," said Mappen's CEO to Forbes . "It's like saying" eat your vegetables ", it does not work. What works is to encourage them to do something they like, like spending time with their friends. In this way, Mappen might have encouraged the code to use social media to improve real social life.

Cut the hatred of conversation

Mappen can offer users a healthier way to connect, but what about the other benefits of social media? Can a platform for social conversation somehow deter vitriol and sophism?

Companies like Reddit have certainly tried. Reddit communities, or "sub-links," use a positive or negative voting system so members can control stories. Each subsite has its own set of rules, and some even use a whitelist system to prevent users from posting deceptive content. The main political community of Reddit, r / political prohibits hate speech and personal attacks, and only accepts submissions of publications with a history of truth, for example.

Although these backups helped, Reddit remains a hot spot for sophisticated propagandists and hate speech broadcasters – a result totally different from the user experience compared to Mappen. Even former Reddit CEO Steve Huffman could not stay on top of the problem when, after being criticized by members of Subreddit r / thedonald, he surreptitiously published critical comments about him and his decisions.

Later, Huffman apologized and downplayed his actions, stating, "Breaking people, it's a little outrageous to spice up life – I understand that. That's what I did. However, many users have seen Huffman's actions in the same direction as the problem he was trying to solve. "Manipulate the words of your users, that's [messed up]," commented a user.

… Without killing creativity and discovery

While Mappen is working to improve human interaction, no social network to date has managed to create a healthier space for online discussion. But at least one downplayed the negativity without limiting creativity and discovery. Pinterest offers a visual "interface" where users can present their style while becoming familiar with the creations of others.

Creative content exists on all platforms, but just as Mappen does for friends who want to spend more time face-to-face, Pinterest did two things to make it the heart of his site. First, it uses a unique display board system, which encourages users to explore their hobbies and interests by collecting content that resonates with them. In contrast, platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, or even Mappen, focus on individual users. By personally updating the center of gravity of the platform, they promote an atmosphere of "me", where the most outrageous messages tend to attract the most attention.

Second, and perhaps most importantly, Pinterest forces users to take additional steps to post and comment. While comments are immediately visible in Facebook's news feed and symbol-counted in the Twitter feed, Pinterest users must click on a message to see if it has been commented. In doing so, Pinterest subtly shifts the attention of user comments to the creatives themselves.

Building a better platform

If emerging players like Mappen and pillars like Pinterest have discovered partial solutions to social media problems, why have not we created a better platform? Because up to now, everyone seems to require a limited ecosystem. Collecting photos and comments from other people's holiday is not as fun as collecting ideas and creative images, for example. Providing a platform for social discussion requires rules – such as limiting submissions to whitelisted sites and banning certain types of speech – that can stifle conversation on other topics.

No, the new challenge of social media is not to offer individual solutions. it's combining them in a way that creates – rather than fractures or boundaries – a community. Perhaps such a platform, starting with Mappen and Pinterest, would continue to allow individual comments and status updates, but would make them less visible than visual and long-term content, as was the case. does Pinterest. It can implement the Reddit community moderation system, with an application enhanced by algorithm-based tools that report suspected violations to moderators. And, like Mappen, this could encourage users to take regular breaks by showing them where nearby friends are on a map. As the evolution of social media continues, the Mappen approach of including fostering a more genuine engagement could be a northern star.

The design of such a platform would be difficult? Absolutely. But society's efforts to wean themselves off tobacco were also, saving countless lives. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

 Brad Anderson "src =" "class =" avatar avatar-125 photo "height =" 125 "width =" 125 " />

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Brad is the editor who oversees the content of You can reach me at Brad at

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