May 22, 2020
A persisting fact about us is that we’re social beings — without a tribe, community, or group we wouldn’t have gotten very far. With the digital revolution changing how we communicate, we believe one thing that hasn’t been refined to perfection yet is group interactions.
Before we pivoted Nanolens from a visual search app to a social network for disbanding parties on April 10th, we began interviewing our power users to discover a new problem we could solve. And that lead us to 2 fundamental insights and potential problems we could solve:
- But, there weren’t any products out there that neither enabled nor reflected this dynamic. - As people, we grow into and out of our social groups but we’re often serve notifications from online groups that we’ve grown out of and this can get annoying.
- Because conversations are tangential by nature, important information is often buried in a group interaction. - Joining or leaving different groups can feel uncomfortable or akward because the group’s values stay the same while you might’ve changed.
For every season in our lives, we engage and disengage with different groups. For example, one might be in separate groups with their high school friends, college friends, friends from church, friends from studying abroad, etc. Eventually, these groups disband by nature because its purpose no longer exists.
When these group dynamics are carried over to the digital scope, we’ve realized its deep consequences. For instance, naturally ending group interactions online, as opposed to ending it in person by parting ways, can feel akward - especially if you’re in a group chat and you’re left on read. As a matter of fact, even if a group interaction is ephemeral, leaving groups can often feel uncomfortable or akward because a group’s values may stay the same, when you as a person might’ve changed. Another instance and consequence of this is that we’re often served notifications from online groups that we’ve grown out of and this can get seriuosly annoying.
When we’re involved in a group interaction online, the nature of a conversation is often tangential. For example, it might look a lot like this:
New Topic About Random Thought
This is the natural flow of our conversations. It’s often not about a single topic. Rather, it’s tagential with rich thoughts bouncing off of other thoughts rapidly in group interactions. When this happens in a digitial interface, we often see important information being buried. Several group and messaging products today attempt to solve this with a search or pin function but, we’ve learned that they don’t get the job done quite as well as users want them to. Furthermore, because of this, people are often forced to “retreat” into smaller sub-groups for the purpose of communicating information about a specific topic that wasn’t relevant to the original topic at hand at all.
When we saw this, we realized we could make this better — a whole lot better.
Because most groups tend to be ephemeral, we realized we could design a product that could enable and reflect the natural progression of group life cycles. Currently, you can start private or public parties on Nanolens that disband after a period of time, or last forever. We’re excited to see what our users think in terms of time-constraints and how creative communities can get with this!
Often times, the size of our groups vary. For example, small groups tend to be made up of a network of close friends or a support group while large groups tend to be made up by an organization. Like many of the group products out there, you can join any public party on Nanolens. But, when it comes to private parties, we do something different. Nanolens doesn’t have a notification screen and we intentionally designed it this way. This is because we believe having an “activity feed” of notifications takes away the quality of intimate interactions or conversations one can have with differnet parties they’re a member of. Instead, when you try to join a private party on Nanolens, an automated message is sent to admins of that party directly in their messages (DMs — we call them Chatrooms). There, admins have the option of declining or accepting your membership request.
If the heart of Nanolens is its parties, its brains are its posts. What’s unique about Nanolens is that posts can be permanent or disappear after a day they’re sent. Why? We wanted to enable new members of a party to feel comfortable expressing themselves. Allowing users to pick whether a post is permanent or ephemeral, with a tap or press of a button enables them to curate their profiles — another distinction between other group products out there. Some group products don’t provide the ability to curate your profile. Because our mission at Nanolens is to enable you to grow into and out of your groups and discover your who and why, we believe that having and curating your profile fosters credibility and creates an ecosystem of sharing quality content with different parties.
Another aspect that makes Nanolens unique with its disbanding parties is the feature we call Quick Send. This feature allows you to compose a post or message once, and send it to multiple parties or friends at the same time (up to 32). As a matter of fact, Nanolens is the only product out there that does this. We realized that a key benefit of utilizing a tool such as this is that it enables you to tap into a network when you’ve got something urgent to share. For instance, one of the hardest parts about being a creator — a content creator, an entrepreneur, an artist, a blogger, etc. — is finding the initial 100 people who love what you do. When products out there limit communication tools to one network at a time, this prevents creatives from sharing and growing their work with others as quickly as possible. And having to post the same content as a creative to multiple networks multiple times can get seriously annoying. On Nanolens, you can simply compose your post or message, and select multiple parties and friends to send it to. Then, tap or press the send button to send your composition.
Given that this is our first blog post, I’d like to end this on a quote that summarizes quite well, what our mission is:
Fires can't be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men. - Baldwin
Nanolens solves every aspect of group interactions really well. By removing the clutter and focusing on our core problems, we designed our product to be different from the start. Thanks for reading up to here, and if you haven’t tried Nanolens please try it out.