Hmmm is a new take on social sharing that flips the concept of “lists” and “circles” on its head by giving users the ability to create different Avatars based on the context of what they’re sharing and whom they’re sharing it with. I asked Archana Patchirajan, a cofounder who has a background in software programming and mobile development, how Hmmm’s personality-based sharing differs from current mobile products and ecosystems. Social media professionals and personal users alike will both be interested in the insights she has to offer.
How does Hmmm differentiate itself from other new and established social products on the market? What really sets it apart?
The sharing we are able to do on today’s social networks is not at all similar to the sharing we do in real life. As a result, we are experiencing a current stage of saturation where what we share is highly dependent on who has access to it. With that said, this oftentimes means we share less since many updates may be irrelevant to some of the members in our mass following. In addition to these flaws, we have no means available to learn from our past social media data.
Hmmm aims to solve the aforementioned problems by giving you a platform to share just as you would in the real world, granting you the freedom to express yourself as you would to your friends, co-workers or family in real life. And through your selective social sharing with Hmmm, its inference engine learns about you and gives you back a meaningful story.
How is personality-based sharing different from Google+ Circles, for instance, and what makes it superior in your opinion?
Facebook Lists and Google + Circles have already proved very ineffective for selective sharing. Reasons? The whole design is quite cumbersome, and it’s just not a very natural way to share. Our brain is not naturally programmed to think in the form of just one “I” interacting with multiple circles or lists. This is personalization completely backwards; like dipping your soup inside the crackers. With ‘circles’ or ‘lists’, the perception flows from outside-in whereas with Hmmm Avatars it flows from inside-out. It is very subtle but just so natural.
In real life, we all wear different personae based on whom we interact with. The minute you step into your workplace, your tone, mannerism and outlook changes. Your synapses fire away instructions that translate into very behavior that is most appropriate for that setting. Same is true when you are with close friends, family and the special someone in your life. In other words, at any given point in time your brain is aware of ‘who you are’. With that explicit knowledge comes the freedom to act without worrying about who else is watching. This is precisely what Hmmm lets you achieve with its intuitive way of letting you build, personalize and wear your different Avatars.
With Avatars, Hmmm lets you privately and intimately share life by letting users share via various micro-profiles. Each Avatar is similar to the real life roles we play and made visible to a selective group. A user can seamlessly adapt themselves to a particular Avatar based on the context of what they are sharing and who they are sharing it with. All updates from the avatar are personalized right from the notification to the cover picture, meaning the whole experience becomes very intimate to the people involved. As we see it, Avatars lets you be a son, a daughter, a close friend, a sweetheart and many more while operating in the digital world. With Facebook and Google+, this is not possible.
Hmmm users have now surpassed half a million interactions while using the service. What did it take to steer the company to this milestone?
We believe this milestone is attributed to the nature of the app in itself. We are seeing that people can use Hmmm to track life activity, communicate and express intimately, reach selective groups and more. The Avatars have helped create a more meaningful, personalized platform for users.
How will the social media landscape be different 5 or 10 years from now and how will Hmmm fit into that ecosystem?
As the social media landscape progresses, it is undoubtedly going to become more and more about you, with personalization being the key. Without this element of personalization, social media outlets will be unable to survive the information overload.
Someone reading this wants to start a tech company. What’s your best advice for them?
I would tell them to have unwavering belief in who they are and what they are doing. They should be prepared to go through a lot of ups and downs, but a solid team who believes in the idea as wholeheartedly as they do will give them what they need to succeed.