Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be room for any more social media platforms, along comes cyPOP to shake things up.
The site, which was started by starry-eyed trio Josie Baik, Eric Sheckler and Glenn Walker, debuted in beta around a month ago and aims to connect users through their interests, rather than create ever-increasing concentric circles of friends, family and acquaintances. This, they claim, will offer a higher level of engagement. Anyone who might be dreaming of a social media job and thought they’d missed the boat should be heartened by the news.
It seems this young pretender to the Facebook crown and other new and revitalised providers such as MySpace, are looking for a slice of Zuckerberg’s one billion user-sized pie. Oh, and the fact that venture capitalist Jim Judson chose to put his hard-earned dollars into cyPOP rather than Facebook should tell you something.
What’s Different About cyPOP?
The focus of cyPOP is activities rather than people and it allows members to keep their activity as public or private as they choose. One of the site’s most interesting aspects is its use of ‘interest mapping’, which is represented by a series of brightly colored blocks of varying sizes that also act as navigation aids across the site.
The activity on cyPOP occurs across three main functions. Cafés are where discussions on various topics take place using posts and comments. Live chat and Twitter integration is happening all day, every day.
The cyPOP bookmarklet can be used in conjunction with any browser and will quietly capture content from the web – text, pictures, videos and articles – and deposit that information in your cyPOP folio. The folio itself is a folder used to organized captured content which can be made public for other users to browse, or kept completely private.
Where did the inspiration come from?
The inspiration behind cyPOP comes from a number of sources, most notably the popularity of digital cafes in South Korea, and the idea is that cyPOP will address the ‘now what?’ feeling left behind by some social media experiences.
“One of our co-founders, Josie Baik, recognized a void in much of our social communities in the U.S. as compared to what she was seeing in Korea,” said CEO Glenn Walker. “In South Korea, digital communities go beyond simply who you know and venture deeper into connecting with others through specific interests – and we thought we could make that happen in the U.S. and beyond by localizing and expanding on the café concept.”
Any Commercial Opportunities?
As well as using cafes, bookmarklets and folios, cyPOP enables any blog or publisher the opportunity to build an instant group of fans by importing content from Tumblr, WordPress or Flickr into a cyPOP café and attracting users looking for content that’s of interest to them.
With this in mind, the commercial opportunities presented by cyPOP are clear. The site provides a unique digital space in which companies can engage and interact with current and potential customers in branded café areas that can help build brand awareness and loyalty. More importantly, using cyPOP means big brands can interact with consumers on an equal footing, as an individual, which is something not offered by any other platform.
These branded cafes and the ability to communicate with users as an equal should tempt in businesses looking to increase and improve their social media activity, and cyPOP has plans to provide analytics to help steer advertising and could even offer a micro payment option to enhance and develop branded cafes.