Ideapod is a social network for ideas, not to be confused with those other non-idea social networks
Have an idea you want to share on the Internet? Well now there's a platform for that! Along with... every other social platform around the sole purpose of which is to share your thoughts.
But now there's a website whose entire sharing mechanism is about "ideas," whatever that means. The site is called Ideapod. It's based in New York, and, as its press release reads, it aims to "connect important ideas and thinkers around shared passions - tackling global issues such as civil rights, economic disparity and the future of health." Today it launches its invite-only beta. People can get an invite by online request, or by knowing someone already on the site.
Ideapod is the brainchild of two Australian men: Justin Brown and Mark Bakacs. Bakacs worked as a successful corporate lawyer in numerous countries around the world before he started this Ideapod adventure. Brown, more along the wavelength of what I would think an Ideapod users to be, was studying International Relations in the UK, with the intention of getting a PhD. Once he and Bakacs began formulating their company, he halted his schoolwork and never finished his dissertation.
Both men are smart and will admit that their platform is premised on somewhat lofty goals. That is, a social and communicative sounding board by which people can share thoughts and become enlightened. But, isn't that just like every other platform out there?
At first glance, yes, the website comes across like many other social websites. Its frontpage is a newsfeed of shared content, err, I mean, "ideas." Each item shared is a 1,000 character or less post that can have a video or photo attached to it. From there, others people who wish to engage with the idea can comment -- also in 1,000 characters or less. So it's like slightly longer Twitter with hopefully more educated content than Facebook.
Brown sees Ideapod as something different than all the other social networks out there because of the users already taking part, as well as the kind of dialog it's intending to foster. He told me that the overall concept was "connecting great thinkers around world changing ideas." And, to him, an idea is categorically different than an Upworthy post on Facebook or a Twitter one-liner.
Ideas, he told me, "are trying to shift someone's perspective… It's quite future oriented." So the content he sees diffused on the Ideapod network are in and of themselves didactic, more nuanced, and trying to avoid the usual naval-gazing we see on most social networks.
The company has been soliciting top thinkers -- bother individuals and organizations -- to build Ideapod profiles. Some notable users include the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs, the United Nations, the New York Stock Exchange, and the World Economic Forum. Brown says that universities will be taking it up shortly.
It's going to be quite a battle for this, dare I say, "idea," to really take off. I haven't heard anyone lament in the last half decade, "Man, we need a new social network." Which is to say we've already got quite a few social networks, some more popular than others, all generally serving the same purpose. In order for something like Ideapod to take root, it's going to have to prove that its content is different than the rest (which I'm not entirely certain of) as well as gain an avid following.
Brown seems to be aware of this, and realizes that the early users and posts submitted on Ideapod are what will truly define it. "We're really focusing on quality at the moment," he told me.
Will that be enough? I guess that's why there's an invite-only beta, to see what kind of users Ideapod can solicit. The company has closed a $700,000 seed round, and is raising another one currently, so it's really hoping that people understand the power of ideas.
Of course, we must keep in mind that some ideas are better than others.
[Illustration by Hallie Bateman]