Dallas-based computer science college student Jesse Stauffer wants to make social media more private. With help from his brother and financial backing from Mark Cuban, he recently released an iOS application called Xpire that lets users share “self-destructing” posts on Facebook, Twitter and, now Tumblr, as well as use a variety of tools to better manage and shrink their digital footprints.
The app, which first launched earlier this summer, has now been updated to include a feature that lets you rank your own Twitter account based on the amount of inappropriate content it contains, as well as new tools to help you manage and remove unwanted followers. It has also expanded support beyond Facebook and Twitter to also include “self-destructing” Tumblr blog posts and more.
It’s effectively a way for a user to regain some privacy on the more popular social media platforms around today. And it’s a pretty decent Twitter management tool, as well, allowing you to view and delete up to 3,200 of your most recent tweets, erasing them with a tap of a button, or even surface old tweets by keyword(s).
However, its larger selling point is the ability to share social networking posts that will disappear in the time frame you specify in the app, whether that’s minutes or days.
Stauffer said he was originally inspired to create the service after seeing his peers post questionable content on social media, and realizing how that could impact them in the future when it came to applying for jobs and more. Plus, he explains, sometimes users would post long rants or “small and meaningless” content that they may not want to have stick around forever. Time-sensitive content, too, like “I’m at the mall. Who wants to hang out?” also doesn’t require a lengthy shelf life, he says.
Initially, he and his brother were working on a similar private sharing app called Bitzy which, much like Snapchat, let users share self-destructing photos and text. He then reached out blindly to Cuban via email to tell him about the idea, and Mark actually responded. After some discussion, Cuban suggested that instead of growing his own social network, he integrate with pre-existing ones.
Of course, Cuban has his own investment to protect in this area. His latest company CyberDust — which he recently spoke about at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014 — is a private messaging app, too.
And Cuban’s advice to Stauffer could be risky; there’s danger in building your own company on top of others’ platforms, as we’ve seen time and time again, including, most recently, with the failure of BranchOut, a “LinkedIn on Facebook.”
But while the big social networks and their APIs play nice with Xpire, Stauffer could generate a decent bit of revenue by selling premium features via in-app purchases, as he intends to do. Stauffer has given Cuban the co-founder title, but from the sounds of things, he’s more an investor/advisor than involved in day-to-day operations. (Stauffer reaches out to him via CyberDust, in fact.)
Stauffer himself coded 100 percent of the Xpire app, he says, and his brother aided with the design. Cuban’s Radical Ventures is the sole investor in the three-month old application.
Currently, Xpire is a free download here on iTunes.