It may be undesirable to defuse the explosion triggered by the social media. Sifting through vast amount of data on social networking sites could be an irritant in an era where the clock seems to tick faster and hours seem to have got shorter. Private and public space in the virtual context has vanished. That’s something software professional Rohan Thuse wanted to change.
Thuse says, “When I add someone as a professional contact, I do not expect him to see my social life and vice-versa. Other than going through a complicated set of security settings there was no way in which I could distinguish between these,” he said. Thuse found an answer — “pro-cial” networking site — the hyphen denoting the unique and separate character of professional space.
It allows the user to create two profiles and provides control over who can see which. With a single login, the website allows creation of two profiles viz social and professional with the user having the discretion to upload and display relevant data. The user decides which contact can see which profile, or even both profiles. “In case the user has added someone on professional profile, social updates and details will not be visible and vice-versa,” he said. The user, on the other hand, can switch between profiles with a single click without having to login again or changing any setting.
Other than banking on personal experience, the team of developers who slogged for over a year on the project had conducted a survey of 2,500 people, including college students and young professionals. “One of the major issues that came up during our interaction was disenchantment of many with the popular social networking sites, that gave us important pointers on what not to incorporate in our site,” he said. Data security, clean spread and non-aggressive marketing through sponsored posts were other concerns cited as reasons for disenchantment with popular social networking sites.
In fact, some concerns that surveys pointed out had been noted by Facebook in its annual report of 2013 about a possible reduction in daily average usage (DAU) by teenagers for Facebook.
Thuse, along with friends Aniket Late, Aniket Thanage, Sanket Dhorje, and Mihir Ambekar, had put in almost one-and-a-half-years of work to develop their “pro-cial” site “Ripein”, the Beta launch of which the team expects in the next financial year. The team had put in money and have come up with a revenue model they say will be unveiled in the second release.
“We will not have paid posts, but the right hand corner will allow space for advertisements,” he said. The team would be looking for investments to scale up the website after its launch.
Another feature that the website will subsequently add would be collation of government schemes aimed at entrepreneurship and related fields. “A team of 15 people will look into this and post relevant information for users,” he said.