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Supernova is an app attempting to disrupt the current social media model. But is it the next big thing?
It’s unsurprising that in 2022, more than half of the world now uses social media, equating to 58.4% of the population. This is equal to 2.62 billion people now using social media, and 424 million new users within the last 12 months. Covid 19 was a huge contributing factor to this, with 43% of people spending more time using social media. The average daily time now spent on social media is 2.5 hours, and reports stating that users are engaging with an average of 7.5 social platforms each month.
As a result, it can be inferred that there is a huge demand for social media in 2022, with social media playing a huge role in contemporary society. Tiktok is a great example of the influence social media has on society. Viral dances, cooking trends and a variety of influencers have found fame on the app and as such it has become a huge part of day-to-day life, social activities, and even marketing.
Furthermore, social media’s influence is questionable and has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. 91% of 16–24-year-olds use social media, with 80% of these suggesting that the platforms are making their anxieties worse. Multiple studies have found strong links between social media and an increased risk of depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts. Matters are made worse, considering 7 in 10 people say that they have experienced cyber bullying.
With such alarming statistics surrounding platforms that are so involved in our lives, social media platforms are forced to adapt and step away from superficial and often damaging user experience.
Supernova was founded by Domonic O-Meara – the former Saatchi advertising guru, and Bafta award winner. Supernova’s main aim is to help prevent toxicity on its platform, and to create a space where users can feel safe, secure, and encouraged to have a positive, inspiring and life affirming interaction with their friends; without having to encounter and endure hate, racism, homophobia, and extreme politics. This is mainly supported by a dedicated human moderation team, which will work in tandem with AI when the platform grows to help organise user content. Domonic suggests that it’s ‘’not about having armies of moderators to weed out nasty content but is instead about conditioning people to avoid producing nasty content in the first place’’.
In light of this positivity, Supernova has created a business model that gives 60% of it’s advertising revenue to global charities – with the money distributed according to member preferences across the following subjects:
Supernova is the first and only social network to donate profits from advertising to charity. Supernova’s goal is to capture 1% of the global social media advertising market, as it would enable them to give £600 million a year to charity!
The app works by ‘liking’ posts the same way any other platform does, however, a like is equivalent to a donation to a chosen charity. So, say for example you nominate a homelessness charity, and someone then likes your post; a donation of funding from Supernova will go to your nominated charity. ‘Supernova’ likes are 10x more powerful than a regular like, but how supernova likes are distributed is unclear.
The site uses ‘karma points’ as a means of earning Supernova likes, but again, it is unclear how to earn them and how they equate to a Supernova like.
The cause that gets the most money is determined by the users, as likes and Supernova likes earn money for charity, receiving a like gets money sent to your specified cause of choice, whereas each like given out does the same for someone else’s cause. The platform exercises complete transparency and allows users to check how much has been raised, where it’s going and what it’s helping to achieve – at any time.
The app is similar to Instagram in that users can share photographs and videos along with comments and messaging. Much like other platforms, users can follow or be followed, set an account to private, explore and block unwanted users. Supernova also has a ‘groups’ facility, similar to Facebook, that allows users to congregate and join with multiple people.
There have been a number of impactful events occurring in the realm of social media as of late. Elon Musk has just bought the majority shares of Twitter and has made it clear that he intends to promote ‘’full fat’’ free speech, even if it means allowing liars, extremists, conmen, fake news and more. Not only this, but Facebook had a whistleblower incident from Frances Haugen, who revealed hard evidence that their algorithms are cynically designed to spread anger, controversy, outrage, and extremism. As a result, there is clearly a demand, and a gap in the market, for a business model as transparent and positive as Supernova’s.
Many charities have chosen to join the launch of Supernova, as a result of the app’s ‘’inclusive’’ social network, with user safety at its heart. Businesses are also supportive of the app, with many advertisers suggesting that they would ‘’love to avoid associating their brand with the latest negative headlines coming from Facebook and Twitter.” Businesses want somewhere positive, upbeat, and enlightened in order to advertise and raise their profile.
The users themselves have given mixed reviews of the app since its launch. This blog has synthesized the reviews from the Google Play App Store, as a means of understanding Supernova’s current positioning.
So far, the app has achieved over 1000 downloads on Android devices. The platform has an overall 3.4* review rating. The positive reviews of the app paid homage to the positivity and feel-good vibes of the app, with others commenting on the ethical nature of the app, stating that it was easy to navigate. Many admired the charity aspects of the site, and how the content is moderate. Others recommended the groups facility of the app, suggesting that they enjoyed the communities that exist on it currently. Finally, customers respected Supernova’s actions, and how they are actually contributing to a good cause as opposed to just in theory.
As with all new products, Supernova gained some bad press also. The majority of the negative feedback was due to the glitches of the app. People were logged out randomly and exposed how they found it impossible to get back into the app, as it no longer recognized their username.
Apparently, the app is slow, and randomly freezes / crashes / closes when trying to upload content. Users also suggested that they were unable to block people that were harassing them and found that there was no way to delete their account once they had exhausted all of their other options – contradicting the app’s initial goals of preventing negativity and indicating that there is more work to be done in order to moderate content effectively. Upon encountering all of the above, users also had difficulties in getting support for their tech related issues, and therefore were unable to resolve them.
Overall, Supernova shows incredible promise as an application, and has innovative qualities that fulfill a demand for positive interaction in a world where powerhouse apps such as Facebook and Twitter promote the opposite – despite an epidemic of mental health issues across the globe.
Although still in its infancy, the app has far-reaching goals for philanthropy, and have already managed to partner with brands such as ASICS, and MQ. The only barrier to success that the brand needs to overcome are the issues with the interface, in order to avoid a slow experience, with glitches and crashes. Supernova must also develop its security capabilities, and tech support facilities, as both are integral to delivering their USP of monitoring content for a more positive community.
Is Supernova the next big thing? It has the potential to be, but there are still some fixes that need to come in before it has the ability to compete with its predecessors. A positive social media platform dedicated to charity work and spreading some good certainly has the potential to take off, as previously mentioned, there is a gap in the market for it. At Sherbet Donkey Media we’re keen to see how the app succeeds over time and just how much change it can bring about.
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