June 1, 2015Published by: Charlie Sharpe

Can the BBC iPlayer creator help us find what we actually want to know on social media?

A clear problem is emerging with social media; it doesn’t tell us what we want to know. On Facebook we only become friends with people we know and like pages that fill our timeline with vaguely irrelevant spam about the Kardashians, on Twitter we follow users we find interesting but they don’t post the content we want to see - too often I will follow somebody I found interesting only for them to start retweeting generally uninteresting content. The key problem appears to be that social media platforms are people focused not content focused, or at least that’s how the creator of BBC iPlayer Anthony Rose saw it. People need to be able to go onto a social media site and look at content they find interesting and then go on to meet new people who share their interests.

Rose saw this issue as a mere challenge to overcome and his (I think excellent) response is the topic-based social platform 6Tribes, which launched at the end of May. 6Tribes is currently only available on IOS in the UK but will be released to a wider audience soon. The app collates posts from a variety of users based on the groups or “tribes” they follow. If users can’t find a tribe that interests them, then they can also create their own; this will allow the creator to manage all content in the tribe and assess what is or isn’t relevant through the “bump” system.

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Tribes are small communities on the platform dedicated to a certain topic (e.g. sports, films, television, music, tea), within each tribe people can post relevant content for other followers to see with a “bump” system (similar to Reddit’s voting system) to filter the content. Once users have joined a variety of Tribes all posts will come through on the user's’ feed to provide a completely content focused and personalised news feed. At first glance, it’s great. The feed is specific to any topic you choose and provides interesting and relevant updates and overall the app is really smooth, very simple and good looking.

“Close to launch we have close to 100 tribes” said Rose, however alongside of new Tribes run by the platform users can also create and manage their own Tribes, sharing content on any topic that takes their interest. The beauty of this new platform is not only in the content but the way you can meet other users. Because all of the groups are topic-based and not user based it’s a good way to interact with new people who share your interests. I think it has to be said, Mr Rose has done a good job. With the potential for serious expansion over the coming months 6Tribes could be a promising guide for social platforms to come.

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