UNTHINK describes itself as a social revolution with a mission “to emancipate social media and unleash people's extraordinary potential” as seen in the above video titled "Anyone Can Be Extraordinary."
But it’s really a shot across the bow at Facebook. Unthink recently launched in beta as the "anti-Facebook," according to TechCrunch's Sarah Perez. “Enough” – says the site. “We’ve been waiting for things to change. We are not waiting anymore!” With its own manifesto, deeds and covenants, Unthink offers alternatives to individuals and brands.
With $2.5 million backing from DouglasBay Capital, the Tampa-based start-up promises a more honest model of social networking where people own their data and it’s not sold to advertisers. As part of Unthink's pitch to brands, the site's users choose brands to sponsor their page with an “iEndorse” feature or, if they prefer, remain advertiser-atheistic and pay a $2/year fee. Users also choose type and frequency of messages and only then does reward-for-engagement kick in and points are accrued for redemption.
“If we want to be free, we have to control our own communications…we have to claim that power,” CEO Natasha Dedis told the crowd at Tampa Bay Barcamp last month.
On signing up, Unthink offers an app to export photos and videos from Facebook along with standard questions, name, birth date, gender, and then goes to a personal profile page split into sections, “each with a dedicated purpose and easy-to-customize privacy controls. The top section, “iUnthink” is your public microblog, the middle, your social section, the third, your lifestyle section for connecting with brands (this part will launch in a few weeks), and the bottom, your professional section for connecting with business colleagues,” according to Perez.
Unthink was inspired by Dedis’ son’s desire and peer pressure to join Facebook, but after reading FB’s TOS, she found it inordinately invasive and the ‘un-think’ lightning bolt struck.
“The number one thing that had to be ‘un-thought’ about social media, is who does it belong to? We need to own everything that we put on our page. We can be as private or as public as we want, as long as it’s our choice,” says Dedis.
It's drawing comparisons to Diaspora, the first public challenger to FB and received attention and support when it launched, including a New York Times profile and a $100,000 raise on Kickstarter, but it’s not proven a contender.
In a piece titled “Die, Facebook, Die,” Gawker writes: “Unthink is capitalizing on the well-founded fact that trusting Facebook with your privacy is as smart as trusting a hungry dog to guard a delicious Philly cheesesteak.”
Unthink is not a Facebook-only challenger, it has Twitter, LinkedIn and Groupon in its sights.
Tens of thousands of people will receive invite codes to the UNTHINK revolution as the next David readies the slingshot to take on the web’s Goliath.