Launched last July as “a social network for connecting with others to discuss polarizing topics such as politics, religion and social issues,” Roust releases their first iOS app today to give members of their network another way to connect and discuss topics.
Given the crazy political year we are having in the USA, the timing couldn’t be better for something like this. I applaud Roust’s efforts to keep political bombasts out of my Facebook feed by trying to redirect them to a rant-tastic network made just for them.
The first thing that comes to mind when considering this app is obviously the Sean Parker-backed network called Brigade that launched just a little ahead of Roust. At first glance Roust appears to be sort of a poor man’s Brigade…a little less fancy, a little less glitzy. It also doesn’t have the same voting or recruiting motifs as Brigade. There is noticeably less activity.
But there’s also something sort of authentic and conversational about Roust. The stripped down design is more casual and less about voting and choosing sides. You can simply post up something you feel strongly about and people can converse in the safety of knowing they can answer without restraint. It doesn’t have to be a political conversation either and Roust monitors to keep trolling at bay. It sort of reminds me of message boards from back in the day.
Plus, these guys are bootstrapped and not backed by a bazillionaire like Sean Parker so it’s understandable that their creation might not be quite as slick at this point. It seems like they made this to satisfy what they feel are unmet needs of the sphere of social media. I think they have a decent idea to bring conversations to a place where you, as founder Mark LaFay has already been quoted, “know what you are getting into.”