You Aren't our Product.

Talos has invested in the social media application RDV for our flagship venture. For one of our blog posts we thought it may be informative, if a bit self-serving, to give some insight into why we decided the world needed another one.

Lost somewhere in the rhetoric about connecting people and democratizing information is an unspoken truth about current social media applications which aim to gather information about users and then produce profit in two ways:

  • Targeting advertisements based on preferences expressed or inferred from use of the service. 
  • Bundling data and selling it to third parties.

It would be nice to think, “Sure, they have to make money, but they are really passionate about, and focused on, bettering their users’ privacy and service.” Take one look at Twitter’s landing page, though, and you’ll see just how flawed that way of thinking is.

 
 

The red boxes are paid promotions that interfere with what content rises, while the yellow are quasi-advertisements (i.e., the “who to follow” category is often people who have paid to be there, and sites like TechCrunch and Stratechery use Twitter to advertise their own content.)

Of all the content on the landing page, there is one tweet from another human being with no ulterior advertising motives. Go, Nicole!

 

When Twitter made the choice to base its revenue off advertisements and data gathering, the user became the product and everything in the service was affected in some way—there’s no getting around this truth.

The revenue model of current social media companies is a problem and the core mission of RDV is to solve it. Seeing how it has affected our communication, injected advertisements into everything, and changed the nature of how we learn about the world and each other, is why we’ve decided that it is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars—and years of our lives—to bring an alternative into the world. 

With RDV, we start with the premise that the space where our users communicate is sacred. As long as Talos owns RDV, there will be no advertising in our feed, ever. It may sound simple, but the fact that all content which rises in our feed, the photos and text you’ll see, is there because a real individual shared it—that’s revolutionary. 

Moreover, we’ve decided to build an application that will allow users to do more than shout into the proverbial void. By making use of location services your feed won't show you some faraway digital world of celebrity scandal, or what a certain Kardashian is eating for lunch.  Instead, the post of your bachelorette party that was the best night of your life, that wedding day video that was the best day of your life—they are the stories RDV tells, and they remain a part of those places. RDV helps people discover the story of the world around them, and we all play a part in that discovery.

One day soon, we will have to monetize, but we won’t be doing it with advertisements in your feed. What a waste of potential that would be! Instead, we are going to work at providing you relevant and useful services that build off the community our application fosters.

You or your information aren’t our product. RDV is, and we plan to keep it that way.

We decided to build something new because we think technology should better the way we communicate, not better how advertisers can reach us. I hope you will let us know how we are doing and help us build a great product with RDV.