Tuvima, a next generation social network for your community... (need help!)

Shyatic

Aspirant
Joined
Feb 26, 2015
Messages
13
Hi all! I'll apologize in advance if this isn't the best place to post this, so happy to move/edit as needed.

I've been a member on this board for a long time, mostly lurking and using it to help manage my own communities in the past. I have had an on-again off-again idea that I've been kicking the tires on for a while, which in the past, would have helped me a lot from a site owner perspective, as well as from a user perspective.

We start development work in earnest in 2022, so I will by no means say that my platform is ready, but I wanted to gauge some interest in it, get some ideas on what people struggle with, and tell you a little about what I was planning on. We have built the major components of architecture and coding begins soon.

Tuvima is from the Sindarin -- "To discover" (this is a Tolkien elf language from the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit world).

The goal of the Tuvima is an embedded social media network that represents something like a combination of forums, twitter feeds, Reddit and Facebook. We are taking pieces from every place to implement what makes the most sense. So we would have proper forums with threaded discussions, we'd have a feed for users and their content, we'd give you access to different emojis and the "like/dislike/angry/etc" reactions, and a bit more.

There are a few differences in what is already out there, and what we are planning to offer. We are offering this as a plugin for Wordpress/Wix (to start!) that will embed this social engine on your site. It will help you to monetize your own content by adding ways to pay for content, adding ways to tip for content you like, etc -- much in the same way Patreon does for many other users.

Your data is yours. This is a big part of what we wanted to include because we realize that the world of Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc all put your data at risk for monetization without your consent, and further -- without your benefit. While we are planning to be a SaaS (Software as a Service) and host everything centrally, we will offer the option for a 'self-hosted' model where you simply point us to the data store, and we'll use yours. If one day you decide to swap to another service -- pick up the data and take it with you. For those who stay with a centrally hosted model, you'll be able to export your data at any time.

Privacy for users. When a user registers on your forum/buddypress/etc today, they give you a fair amount of information about themselves. Possibly their real name, possibly their location, their real email, etc -- and of course some of you want this information to help interact with them. What Tuvima does is create a "Tuvima Identity" which is a proxy service for users, by default. When a user registers on your site, they get only the information the user wants to provide. We *never* provide a real email address to site owners, there is simply a forwarding email that we host and will forward emails to that user. Since that forwarding address is unique, it's easy to re-create it in case some site owners think it's a good idea to sign them up for newsletters, etc without their permission. Usernames are unique on a per site basis, so if a user (We'll call them "John Smith" as their *real name*) registers on 3 blogs, he can have 3 different identities for each. We don't promise or provide anonymity -- but if you're smart about how you interact, you can stay relatively anonymous and nobody will know one identity from another as they aren't tied together.

We plan on adding functionality for an 'app store' (where developers can help make this experience better, and make money themselves!) as well.

And for all of this, we plan to charge nothing for the service. How do we make money, you might ask? Well, if you offer a "subscriber" package on your site, we would simply take a small percentage of that, no different than Patreon or other microservice based transactions (like the Apple App Store). We will also offer enterprise features (analytics, single sign on, etc) that will be a paid for feature.

The nice thing is that every user that uses the platform now has a central way to manage their identity across all the blogs they frequent. In addition, if you're a site owner with multiple blogs/sites, it's easy to manage across *all of them*. You can build different packages to offer your users, whether it be special emojis, or special flair, or access to content behind a paywall. Or if you opt not to do that, even adding a simple tip jar for articles that go viral. We will help keep track of articles across the network, so if they are posted anywhere on our network -- you'll know about it! And you'll be able to make sure your tip jar/subscription/etc follows it. Heck, if you want to partner with a site you get along with (think of blog collaborations!), you'll be able to create a subscription that goes across both, with a revenue split that you both agree to.

This is a very high level overview, and has taken us a few years to validate in terms of getting the technology right to support this. If you're curious, the plan is to build all of this in .NET 6, Blazor, and Azure. You won't ever have to upgrade, you won't have to install anything (short of a plugin), and the service will simply be embedded onto your site.

I am looking for beta testers some time in mid 2022, as well as people with general ideas around this that have any level of interest. For a bit of background on our team, we are developers and architects that have sat (or sit!) in executive roles in the Fortune 500. The funding is from our own pockets, so there isn't any "venture capital" or "investors" to speak of (though at scale we'll see how that pans out!).

Appreciate you taking the time to read this wall of text, and if there's any interest -- please feel free to reply here or shoot me a PM.

Shy
 

Joel R

Fan
Joined
Nov 24, 2013
Messages
887
Some thoughts:
  • It sounds like your immediate audience will be clients of bbPress, BuddyPress, ForumEngine, wpForo, and Wix Forum. Not the audience here on TAZ, who mostly run independent self-hosted forums.
  • Combination of forums, Twitter feeds, Reddit, and Facebook - that sounds interesting, but also very broad and ambiguous.
  • Privacy - You say that data is owned by us, but then immediately explain that we don't own our member data.
You have some interesting ideas - good luck!
 

Shyatic

Aspirant
Joined
Feb 26, 2015
Messages
13
Some thoughts:
  • It sounds like your immediate audience will be clients of bbPress, BuddyPress, ForumEngine, wpForo, and Wix Forum. Not the audience here on TAZ, who mostly run independent self-hosted forums.
Agreed on this -- if you think there's a better place to recruit from, I'm all ears.
  • Combination of forums, Twitter feeds, Reddit, and Facebook - that sounds interesting, but also very broad and ambiguous.
It's meant to be a bit -- some features are still in development, but the core right now is profiles, forums, commenting.
  • Privacy - You say that data is owned by us, but then immediately explain that we don't own our member data.
No, you own the site data -- all the threads, discussions, etc -- which are linked to a unique ID we activate for your blog/site. You can run a totally different forum system and import everything, but the login system will still be unique to the *user*, not to the site. The IDs will all match up as you'd expect, so we don't lock you into our service.
You have some interesting ideas - good luck!
Appreciate it!
 

Joel R

Fan
Joined
Nov 24, 2013
Messages
887

Tiffany Bello

Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 23, 2012
Messages
102
Taking the concept to innovation and bringing the product to launch is always a long process. It looks like you have a complexity of ideas, but don't be afraid to make adjustments on your journey. The world has changed a lot, recently, and as more companies go to subscription services, more people may have a difficult time participating financially, unless the vast amount of countries experience some economic recovery and there's a more positive outlook, in my humble opinion. Trust, will also be an obstacle, in my opinion because you are asking member's to participate in basically separate websites that fall under one umbrella, if I understand your description correctly. When you have a member that has built their identity through several facets of your website (s), but now has to disengage for some reason, said member, may be leaving all of their separate groups and identities because they have been fully committed to one website paradigm offered by only one website group. In other words, said member of a big social media website owned by, you, XYZ Corp, committed a lot of content but had to disable an account, they would have to totally leave the entire experience of content and contacts and search for another option outside of XYZ Corp and likely would go to ZYX Corp and rebuild. I personally believe people like options, just like Apple versus Android and may use both.

I created a "hybrid social networking website" to offer a variety of "places to go" for members, and offer that "other option" to larger, dominant platforms. I've observed over the years, that there seems to be more people that prefer the quick, fly in and fly out posting experience rather then take the time to hammer out a novella on their opinion on a topic. That's okay, people are busy. There's both specific pages for those member's that want to contribute quickly, and a basic "forum" setting for member's that have extra time. A forum setting is my passion, which is why I felt it was necessary. I also realized that member's seem to favor a certain "template" construct and would navigate to what they are used too. Your concept is intriguing, I would only caution, too broad of a social environment, may spread member's out too far. Maybe I'm just a hopeless classic in the sense of preferring forums and websites that can preserve the "boutique" feel, yet offer a well balance amount of places to go. ~ T.
 
Last edited:

Shyatic

Aspirant
Joined
Feb 26, 2015
Messages
13
Taking the concept to innovation and bringing the product to launch is always a long process. It looks like you have a complexity of ideas, but don't be afraid to make adjustments on your journey. The world has changed a lot, recently, and as more companies go to subscription services, more people may have a difficult time participating financially, unless the vast amount of countries experience some economic recovery and there's a more positive outlook, in my humble opinion. Trust, will also be an obstacle, in my opinion because you are asking member's to participate in basically separate websites that fall under one umbrella, if I understand your description correctly. When you have a member that has built their identity through several facets of your website (s), but now has to disengage for some reason, said member, may be leaving all of their separate groups and identities because they have been fully committed to one website paradigm offered by only one website group. In other words, said member of a big social media website owned by, you, XYZ Corp, committed a lot of content but had to disable an account, they would have to totally leave the entire experience of content and contacts and search for another option outside of XYZ Corp and likely would go to ZYX Corp and rebuild. I personally believe people like options, just like Apple versus Android and may use both.

I created a "hybrid social networking website" to offer a variety of "places to go" for members, and offer that "other option" to larger, dominant platforms. I've observed over the years, that there seems to be more people that prefer the quick, fly in and fly out posting experience rather then take the time to hammer out a novella on their opinion on a topic. That's okay, people are busy. There's both specific pages for those member's that want to contribute quickly, and a basic "forum" setting for member's that have extra time. A forum setting is my passion, which is why I felt it was necessary. I also realized that member's seem to favor a certain "template" construct and would navigate to what they are used too. Your concept is intriguing, I would only caution, too broad of a social environment, may spread member's out too far. Maybe I'm just a hopeless classic in the sense of preferring forums and websites that can preserve the "boutique" feel, yet offer a well balance amount of places to go. ~ T.
I appreciate this thought, and the sentiment behind it. It's not lost on me about creating novel experiences on a site to site basis, and it's something we are trying to allow for any site in the "umbrella". Since "identity" is a construct that basically ties us to each forum/community, each one of those run with varying levels of respect for your data, I felt that the layer we can provide value is there -- where a user controls that data. If a user chooses to disable the account, they can do it on one site within the umbrella, multiple, or just close their account entirely. That choice is their own.

At some point in the future I know there will be decentralized identity stores, but that's not yet -- and it's probably many, many years away (and many arguments away!). My goal and hope is to be able to connect sites that want a great social experience, and users who don't want to give away all of their data nor know how it's used to participate. Create... the new normal?

Forums have been my passion as well, it's where I started my earliest communities and ironically -- sold one, which in turn paid for my wedding and helped set up the benefits I've had in life afterwards.
 

Tiffany Bello

Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 23, 2012
Messages
102
I appreciate this thought, and the sentiment behind it. It's not lost on me about creating novel experiences on a site to site basis, and it's something we are trying to allow for any site in the "umbrella". Since "identity" is a construct that basically ties us to each forum/community, each one of those run with varying levels of respect for your data, I felt that the layer we can provide value is there -- where a user controls that data. If a user chooses to disable the account, they can do it on one site within the umbrella, multiple, or just close their account entirely. That choice is their own.

At some point in the future I know there will be decentralized identity stores, but that's not yet -- and it's probably many, many years away (and many arguments away!). My goal and hope is to be able to connect sites that want a great social experience, and users who don't want to give away all of their data nor know how it's used to participate. Create... the new normal?

Forums have been my passion as well, it's where I started my earliest communities and ironically -- sold one, which in turn paid for my wedding and helped set up the benefits I've had in life afterwards.

Shyatic, you are thoughtful in your approach to your concept and user data protection! It's refreshing to share in conversations with you and others here in the Admin Zone that put so much care into their websites and how they are managed. I look forward to seeing how you will implement your vision and view the result of your developed website product. ~T.
 
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