Imzy is the latest big social network to hit the scene — and it’s set to dominate. Here’s everything you need to know about why Imzy will be huge.
For starters, Dan McComas is the brains behind Imzy. You may have heard of him before as he was one of the Reddit founders. This means he knows a lot about building communities and kicking off a site this ambitious. He also has a good idea about what he didn’t like about Reddit, and how to build things differently from the start.
What this means for Imzy is that it’s designed to expand and to excel at community activity. And I for one think that Imzy is doing a lot of things right.
Let’s show you how it works, and then we’ll see if we can organize an invite to the Imzy private beta for you.
Simple, Yet Beautiful
Imzy is uncluttered, yet designed tastefully. Every part of the site uses the same design, so communities are somewhat uniform, aside from their banner art and profile image.
When reading a post, the direct responses are visible and threaded comments are generally hidden, except when users have given the sub-comments a lot of love. This means that a casual scroll will quickly show you all the best comments and sub-comments, without having to click in or out of different threads. Of course, if you want to dig deeper, that’s always an option.
Your home page on Imzy is a lot like your Facebook home feed, as you see a stream of posts from each of your communities in a continuous stream. You’ll never be bored, basically. With each post you get a preview of the full information contained in the post, so it doesn’t take over your screen with the full content, nor is it limited to just titles.
What’s really exciting though, is that it’s easy to filter that home page by the types of posts you want to see. For instance, filtering to show just images, or just podcast posts.
Yes, you read that right: Podcasts. Imzy are encouraging diverse media submissions from the start, including podcasts and Twitch streams. This has such enormous potential.
Your Imzy Profiles
Imzy has really thought hard about how people use social media sites and participate in communities. You can tell, because they’ve made it really easy to switch between different profiles in a way that I’ve never seen before.
To start with, you sign up with a username and it looks just like any other one-username-per-person system. Except it’s not. In your account you can add new profiles at any time, so you can separate your professional and personal life quite easily. You could even develop a particular avatar just for one certain aspect of your personality. And finally, you can choose to have an anonymous profile.
Each of these profiles is completely separate from each other to onlookers. Unless you give it away somehow, like by adding similar photos, other Imzy users will see these profiles as completely separate entities. From your perspective, you can easily view these profiles and their individual comment histories from the one place.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Imzy have decided that in any given community you should only use one of your profiles. This is to stop people gaming the system by upvoting their own posts and generally confusing people, which makes perfect sense.
What this decision also means though, is that you can’t accidentally post in a certain community with the wrong account, unless it’s the first time you post or comment there. So, it’s important to choose carefully when you make your first post or comment in any given community.
Another neat feature is that when you’re about to post or comment in a new community you can very quickly choose to create a new profile on the fly. So, there’s no fussing about back and forth. It all just runs smoothly.
How this all pans out is brilliant. When you’re in Imzy, you see all of your communities in the sidebar, and all of the latest posts in the main feed, regardless of which of your profiles is a member of any given community.
Also, before you make a comment or post in a community, you are simply shown as an unnamed member. So there’s no way for people to know who has joined until you actively choose to participate and nominate which profile is a member.
Imzy’s Community Focus
Imzy has made clear from the start that their success depends on the success of the sub-communities within it. Because of this, they are incredibly supportive of community leaders, and are always working closely with leaders to find out what they need.
I decided to create a community on Imzy and found the process to be really straightforward and helpful. It was also clear that Imzy has really thought about the sorts of communities people build and how these communities need to operate.
For instance, one of the choices allowed me to choose whether or not anonymous posts were allowed, but not only that — it was possible to build a community where ONLY anonymous posts were allowed. Other standard settings about the privacy of the group were obviously there too.
But this means that entirely secret, anonymous-only groups can exist within Imzy. That could have some really important uses, for instance as mental health support group.
Of course, any community can fall prey to the sour side of human encounters. However, Imzy have put in place community expectations and reporting systems from the very beginning, meaning users can quickly get rid of content and communities that are offensive, leaving the site a pleasant place to hang out for everyone.
To encourage a diverse and welcoming community, Imzy has teamed up with high-profile groups and celebrities such as Lenny Letter, Black Girls Talking, Feral Audio and Dan Harmon (the creator of the show Community). This also means that despite Imzy being quite new, there’s already some great conversations going on.
It’s also worth noting that you can’t follow people on Imzy. It’s instead entirely about the communities you choose to join.
When you first open your Imzy account you’re asked to choose from a selection of interests, and Imzy suggests a bunch of groups you might like to start you off. But to help you expand your activity in Imzy, the act of finding new communities to join has been made incredibly easy.
For starters, the main search feature of the site will let you filter the results to show you either posts or communities that match the results. Default results will display both, so even if you didn’t think to search for a community you might find it anyway.
Next, the “Discover Communities” button is one of the most visible actions you can perform, so you’re really encouraged to find new communities to join. On this page, you can search by keyword or browse by category, making it theoretically possible to browse through every public group on the site. When viewing these lists of communities, you can sort them by Activity, Oldest and Newest. So, it’s really very easy to find the hottest communities on the site.
And finally, Imzy will recommend new communities to you while you browse your feed. So, if a new community springs up you could find out about it this way, even if you forget to go exploring for a while.
What’s Going On at Imzy?
The sorts of communities that have sprung up already are an interesting assortment. There are more than a few communities that look as if they are duplicating popular subreddits, but of course the content is unique and displayed quite differently. Also, most of these supposed duplicate communities are really names that get used throughout social media these days, such as TwoXChromosomes and ShowerThoughts. They’re so ingrained in popular expectations that it’s like calling a tissue a Kleenex. Everyone knows what it means.
What’s more interesting is looking at the completely unique communities. Because of the co-operation with Feral Audio and the unique podcast media submission feature, there are a lot of communities springing up around popular podcasts. I’m really interested to see where this takes Imzy in the future, especially as podcasting is becoming more popular than ever.
I’ve also found that due to the clear community guidelines Imzy is a really friendly place to hang out. There’s also no downvoting, only love. You can also see a preview of the profile pictures of all participants commenting on any given post. This humanizing feature can really help you to bond with the people you’re chatting with and perhaps inspire you to read through the comments when you otherwise may not have.
Sharing The Love
Now, I’ve already mentioned that posts and comments on Imzy are given upvotes only (no downvotes), and you do this by clicking on a love heart. It’s pure positivity.
What’s even more interesting is that Imzy has built in a tipping system. For any post, comment or community that you really appreciate, you can choose to tip the creator directly.
To do this you need to add your credit card into your account details, and this information is then stored with Stripe, not Imzy. All of your profiles will be able to tip from the one credit card, including your anonymous profile.
Tipping starts at $1 and can go as high as you like. Stripe does take a small fee, but Imzy doesn’t. Instead Imzy requests that people make a 10% donation if they’re willing to. As Imzy has no ads at all, this is directly helping the site to operate.
Sadly, if you’re not in a country where Stripe operates, you can’t participate in the tipping system.
This tipping system might really help to build community at Imzy, since it allows people to tip the community directly. So, if you’re really working hard to build your community into a thriving, interesting place, you may actually receive some monetary thanks for your efforts. It seems that Imzy has seriously considered how this could be a driving force for community managers.
Do You Want In?
So, you’ve read all about this new Imzy site and you want to join. But it’s still in private beta! You can sign up for an invite, but you’ll have to wait your turn to get in, which could be months. That is, unless you get invited by someone directly or you get an invite to join a particular community within Imzy.
So, here’s my idea to get you all in as quickly as possible. I’ve started an Imzy community called “Technology, Simplified” (to match MakeUseOf’s tag line), and I have a bunch of invites for anyone who follows the link and joins the community.
Join Here: imzy.com/technologysimplified (Click on this link and say you want to join the community. That automatically gets you an Imzy invite.)
If you miss out, comment here that you wish to join. When you get in, if you’re really nice, you can come back to the comments here and share your 5 personal invites with commenters that missed out on the original bunch of invites (just like we did for Ello). Sound good?
That way we’ll all get in to Imzy and can party on. Are you in? Let’s do this.