Social media has been part of life around the globe for almost 40 years. Usenet appeared in 1979, and it was the first recorded network that enabled users to post news to newsgroups. Fast forward to today and there are 4.48 billion social media users around the world equating to almost 57% of the total global population.
The top eight social media giants dominating the usage statistics today are Facebook (including Instagram and WhatsApp), Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, TikTok, Pinterest, Reddit and YouTube.
These platforms all have features in common – they provide the space for people of all ages and subgroups to voice their opinions. But over the last decade, there has been a dramatic increase in extreme trolling, bullying and racism online, which is correlated with a significant rise in mental health concerns in younger people.
How can a platform which encourages users to connect with friends, form communities and advocate for themselves, have such a negative side?
This thought sparked an idea in Jay Boisvert, a former child tennis prodigy turned publishing manager, and now CEO of new tech start-up Wunder.
“During lockdown, I developed a fear of my young children starting to explore social media due to boredom. There are so many negative connotations around all these platforms. Kids and adults being bullied, explicit content, trolling…it was endless. There didn’t seem to be a genuine space online that any parent would feel 100% comfortable with their children, whether 6 or 15, using. I want to educate my children on kindness and doing good.”
A vision of a solution slowly started to form and, after a few months conducting research and speaking to some of the industry’s top marketing and tech experts, Jay started the process of developing a brand-new social media platform alongside a private investor. But counteracting trolling and bullying is not the only purpose behind Wunder.
Jay states, “Lockdown triggered something in me that I never expected. When I wasn’t worrying about negativity on social media, I spent days on end watching the morbid news on TV and social platforms. If it wasn’t endless, depressing broadcasts about the pandemic or politics, it was news or documentaries about how we are all slowly killing our planet. I was so surprised at how much of the content I consumed was guilt-provoking and negative.
Even wildlife programmes telling me how many polar bears and pandas were dying felt personal. I felt like shouting at the TV, ‘Tell me what to do then!’ because not even the King, David Attenborough himself was showing me the solution!”
Creating an innovative social media space which combines positivity with doing good for both planet and people could provide the solution to many of the issues created by both the conventional platforms and mainstream media itself.
Wunder will be one of the first verified social media platform where users will need to register a legitimate form of ID to be able to fully use its features. It will focus on highlighting amazing projects, charities and causes around the world, as well as the individuals and brands making a difference. Thanks to a unique in-app currency, Wunder coins, the app also houses the mechanism for users to quickly and easily donate both money and time to the projects that resonate with them.
In another ground-breaking move, 50% of all revenue generated from brands and organisations advertising on Wunder will be given back to the community in Wunder coins. By simply spending time on the app, viewing content and sponsored posts, users will actually earn money to distribute to their favourite causes.
Skylark Creative, a global creative tech agency was chosen in early 2021 to design the Wunder platform.
They have a strong track record of collaborating closely on digital transformations, web design and UX design with big name clients such as Arsenal FC, Eleven (producers of Sex Education among others) and digital neurotherapeutics platform MindMaze.
Tech Director and Lead at Skylark, Kayne Brennan mentions “ Anything that does good in this world, I fully support, and this project is going to be extremely eye opening and very exciting to work on! For the last year, we’ve been creating the MVP due late 2021 with phase 2 being discussed as we speak. Some of the features will be familiar to popular social platforms but we have some really epic ideas being developed which will lift social media to the next level”
With Alpha testing soon underway, by the end of 2021 Wunder will be recruiting Beta testers and will launch in Spring 2022.
“We have already confirmed partnership with some of the world’s most prolific charities and brands, ambassadors and industry names. We want to disrupt the giving sector and show that doing good can be exciting, super easy and creative at well as educational. Essentially, we want to do for giving what Deliveroo has done for takeaways and what Uber has done for mini cabs. It isn’t rocket science, it just makes perfect sense in in 2021.”
Testament to Wunder’s admirable goal of transforming the social media landscape into a more positive place while also helping save the planet, the start-up is going through B-Corp testing to become B-Corp certified.
Suzy Dee Holland, Communications Director at Wunder says “We believe business has the power to be a force for good. We want to partner with businesses that match our values and want to move from a shareholder model to a stakeholder model, prioritising planet and people together with profit. That’s why we have gone through the rigorous B-Corp assessment and are currently B-Corp Pending”
“This combination of having a social platform that still sees the most creative and humorous parts of the social media that we love, combined with doing good on the go, is something you can’t fail to get behind. We aren’t asking people to become full-blown activists or stop everything they are doing that could be harmful to the planet, we want to be realistic. Do a little, do what you can at the same time as living your life and it will make a difference”
Wunder will be available to download on App Store and Google Play.