Project Change the World (CTW) is an Indiegogo campaign to crowdfund and create the world’s first social media site that will donate its advertising dollars to charity. The plan is to give people a fun and easy-to-use platform, while generating funds that will change the world in positive ways.
Money raised from the Indiegogo campaign will fund the site and app, called UnscriptiD, with successive advertising dollars donated to local and worldwide not-for-profit initiatives.
Rather than court investors, the site’s founders believe crowdfunding is the most socially responsible way to achieve their goals, as it is in line with the site’s overall objectives and enables thousands of users to get involved.
“We believe giving ordinary people a chance to support the program will enable them to be part of the site’s creation from the outset,” said UnscriptiD’s Nathan Newman. “The end goal is giving, so it seemed natural that the first phase of the project captures that same spirit by relying on people who support the site’s overall objectives.”
The first phase will use the funds from the Indiegogo campaign to design a user-friendly and transparent social media platform featuring today’s most valued user preferences. Once built, UnscriptiD’s future will “depend on word of mouth and a lot of hard work to get people using the site.”
After making the rounds with potential investors and gaining some gifted capital early on, the founders realized that pursuing private funding was in contradiction to the site’s goals: “Maximizing donations to charity is our focus, not paying back investors.”
The model will be based on traditional social media in that user interaction will drive advertising dollars. The difference is that the money will be spent on bettering the world rather than lining the pockets of investors and the site’s founders.
Perhaps the idea is too utopian for today’s tech scene in which user privacy and preferences too often take a back seat to data collection and driving profits, but it’s a nice throwback to the ethics of a time when anonymity had less mass appeal and there was an increased focus on Internet reciprocity.
Newmann also stresses that apart from donating money to charity, UnscriptiD will focus on privacy and innovations. “We take privacy, ownership, communicating, and sharing very seriously,” he says. “Other social media sites own your personal information, which means they can do what they want with it. Not this site; we realize privacy is a major issue.”
From Project CTW’s Indiegogo page:
The Internet provides a great potential to be a platform that gives back; one of our goals is to bring it in that direction. We are asking people to do what they are already doing, but in a place that gives to those who need it.
We can create a seismic shift where we become a generation of giving back. Advertising dollars have to go to a social media site so why not support a site where those dollars go to people in need?
The network aims to be meld social media with social responsibility. Users who simply choose the site for the purposes of social interaction and sharing get the added benefit of knowing they are contributing to making the world a better place.
UnscriptiD users will have an active role in determining where the money goes and the site’s financial activity will be publicly accessible. The founders will choose an experienced team of individuals and consultants to guide decision-making and ensure funds are going to the right places.
Even so, launching yet another social site will not be an easy endeavor. Disillusioned Facebook users who have established social graphs may not be as willing to switch web platforms as readily as they would try new stand-alone social apps. So the concept of social giving will underpin action.
Getting lazy users to make the switch will be challenging, but once they do, UnscriptiD will let them feel that they are making a difference simply by socializing.
“We know it’s not likely that people will completely switch over initially. At first folks will use multiple services at once, but we have a few ideas,” said Newman. In the beta phase, users will be asked to cross post from their preferred networks using a simple tool called IFTTT.
Younger users not yet invested or interested in Facebook may also find the concept appealing. Research shows that at least seven in 10 young adults consider themselves social activists and corporate social responsibility may be the millennial generation’s new religion.
Newman asks, “Imagine you have never signed up for a social media site and you have the option to choose between an orange one and a blue one. The blue one makes rich people even richer, while the orange one donates their profits to charity. Which one will you choose?”
Once the site gains traction, the team expects it to build quickly. They plan to launch the site’s beta version to Indiegogo contributors this month. Some features include private commenting beneath photos (visible only to the original poster) and a “dislike” button. Finally.
If you cannot support the campaign financially, Newmann is asking for word-of-mouth support. You can sign up to be one of the first to use the UnscriptiD site and app when it goes live by clicking here.