We’ve all been in that awkward spot. You did everything possible to avoid it, yet it still happened. Your mother’s aunt’s friend just added you as a friend on a social network. Do you really want her to see everything you post online?
A new social network wants to hit the reset button on how we use online tools. InLinx is truly a sign of our times: a privacy-focused social media platform with a heavy criticism for the tech giants.
Stanley Aguzie, marketing manager for InLinx, says the intention is to put the platform in the hands of users. Separate pods for friends, families, and work allow users to sort which person sees which pieces of content they post.
The feature, called “Treat as”, allows you to treat one person as a friend, another as a co-worker or another as a family member.
“People lose jobs because of their social life online,” says Aguzi. “InLinx helps you treat that problem.”
Aguzie says hypothetically if he met a girl “in a club” he could set up a linx of just “club girls” making it easier to see what they post. It also makes it easier to make sure his mother doesn’t see what he posts from the club. As a side note, is “in the club” still a hip thing to say or no?
“You choose to allow people to be friends,” says Aguzie.
Some of the features of InLinx seem familiar, mainly because they are. Both Facebook and Twitter let you filter which posts you see and which of your friends see your post. The main difference is that InLinx’ filtration system happens as soon as you make a connection.
“Adding some as as friend” doesn’t open your connection to the full-fledged relationship. Users actively sort those connections into the family tab or the other tabs.
“You can have sections for rock friends, drinking friends, apartment friends,” says Aguzie.
In a video the company published, InLinx will keep whatever you post off general search engines, in theory preventing behaviour online from harming users in a job interview later.
There certainly is a level of nostalgia built into a site like InLinx, harking back to an age when (in our hindsight) the social networks were innocent places to gather with no fake news or harassment.
That’s evident in one feature Aguzie was excited to talk about: “We’re bringing the chatroom back.”
Yes, a chatroom. Enter in with your real name or a screen name to a space of strangers. After a glance at some of the recent conversation, there’s a Myspace-esque feel with multiple users talking about how much they love to “party.”
Repeatedly I spotted questions asking from where others are chatting. “A/S/L?” is back.
That nostalgia for an older era of internet usage isn’t surprising. Trolls and malicious foreign actors spreading fake reports on big social networks, plus the downright nasty political debates changed the way we think about about the online world.
Twitter, Facebook, and Google have been playing a balancing act: removing bad actors while also trying to promote free speech. Data privacy concerns just compound that. There’s a general uneasiness many people seem to have with how our lives interact with technology.
“[InLinx] allows people to connect with family and friends on their own terms,” says Aguzie. Algorithms are not part of the equation.
The chatroom shows a sign of the challenges any new social network faces: the network effect. Only a couple dozen different people posted on the global chat room in the past month. If the company wants to grow as they predict, InLinx needs a critical mass of users and their friends on the site to encourage users.
At the same time, no one wants another haven for trolls.
That’s where Dublin comes into the picture.
For the last few months, InLinx has operated out of London. In October, however, they will hold the first public launch in Dublin (details below).
Why Dublin? Aguzie says a major aspect of their launch is that InLinx will support more than 50 languages from the beginning, something he says no other social network has done before.
To maintain a fun and inviting atmosphere in the various languages requires skilled workers with language skills.
Aguzie suspects the team in Dublin will grow over the next few months as they support users around the world. Dublin’s large population of people speaking a wide variety of languages certainly provides an edge.
It’s that global ambition the founders hope will set inLinx apart.
Since most features are purely customisable, the site can adapt to whichever market it launches. That includes countries with notorious content firewalls like China. In other countries where online dating isn’t legal, that feature can also be turned off.
Global SME focus
Aguzie says a site like inLinx could be incredibly useful for small businesses. They can create a page that gets strong search engine optimisation, making it easier to get attention.
Several business in England, including a custom gifts business in Stoke-on-Trent, already joined on creating pages to highlighting their products.
There certainly may be a demand for a social network focused on empowering users. It needs the user base to make that happen.
Aguzie says if people try inLinx out, they will want to stick around.
“It’s a beautiful UI. It’s captivating.”
inLinx will launch the product officially on 12 October at 18:00 at Mansion House in Dublin. You can RSVP here.