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cyPOP – Giving Social Media a Whole New Look

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.

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