If you think social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram have taken the personal touch out of human interactions, you should check out Tipcast, because Stagename, Inc. CEO Josh Barkin wants to make sharing more personal again.
Tipcast is a free iOS app that works in three steps: the user takes a photograph with one tap and then with the second tap, the user can record a 15-second video adding context to the photograph. The final tap shares the Tipcast either directly to your friends or to a public feed.
“We’re not trying to replace any platforms, we’re just trying to add more context,” Barkin said. “This is the most effective way to do it. Personal, emotional and fast. We’re hoping to make sharing more personal again.”
Similar to Snapchat, you can directly message friends who have Tipcast, or you can release your Tipcast to the world. Privacy and personal sharing is the default when you first set your account up.
“We recognize that people might not want to put their face on there and share that with the world. We’re a private, personal sharing platform first, with the option for the public mode. that provides the best of both worlds with the app,” Barkin said.
Tipcast is run by three engineers at Stagename, Inc. based in Toronto. It was launched on June 11 in Canada, but launched yesterday worldwide.
The idea came around when the team had a hard time interacting with their user base for other apps. Twitter is too busy for the team and their user base did not have a strong presence on Facebook.
So they created their own channel of discussion, which would later be the framework for Tipcast, to share news to their user base. After they received positive responses, they started to think of it as a viable platform.
Show and tell is a large part of the analogy used in the marketing campaign for Tipcast. The idea is that the user takes a picture of an object they find important, and then adds a 15-second video describing it personally and shares it to people they want to see it.
Users can also get creative by animating their photographs, adding music, overlay text or link to other apps and third-party sources.
Tipcast lets users create Tipcast Categories to send their Tipcasts to, which other users can subscribe. For example, I can create a category called “my favorite restaurants” and I add send Tipcasts to that category whenever I find a restaurant I enjoyed. My friends or anyone, depending on what my settings are, can then subscribe to that feed and can see all of my uploads to that category.
Barkin says Tipcast is trying to solve two problems: context and noise.
He says when people post pictures on Instagram, viewers typically don’t care because there is no context to the photograph. He believes when people see a 15-second video of a user describing along with their photograph, it is easier to see that individual’s emotion.
In terms of noise, Barkin says it’s too easy for information to get lost in a world with so much happening on Twitter and Facebook by the second. Posts or tweets act like spam, with a lack of a personal touch to them.
“But if I share an app with you and you can see that I’m telling you that I need your help to get those extra jewels in Candy Crush, the boosters, then you can actually see the desperation in my face and might make you download the app,” he said. “If you add in context and emotion to things you share, then you’re going to more likely convert people to action.”
Monetizing the app is in the works but not for a while, says Barkin, who met with possible advertisers yesterday morning. One path the team is looking at is providing an object for users to Tipcast about, such as apps. Tipcast will bring up the apps installed on your phone and you will be able to show and tell what apps you’re using. When you do that, Tipcast will also suggest other apps for you to download and Tipcast about. When asked if people would spam apps or promote their brand, Barkin didn’t think it would be a big issue.
“I think if people put their face in front of something they’re less likely to spam,” Barkin said. “The rise of anonymity is so much more open to abuse, but when you put your face in front of something then you become more accountable to what you’re sharing.”
An Android app is on the roadmap for the team in the future, but they’re mainly focusing on the user experience of the iOS app at the moment.