About the Applicant
Thrives is a dynamic search that helps you find social content that matters to you. We wanted to create an app that brings people closer together by making our social data more accessible. Thrives connects you directly to social content. Search for terms or posts that interest you. Thrives will display only public posts that contain your search term. Our search results will display most recent posts first. The more popular a search term, the more posts will be available to the user. You do not have to be signed up to Thrives in order to use Thrives. Nor do you have to be a member of another social network to access posts from the social networks we display. The aim of Thrives, therefore, is to connect you to information and to people across social networks. Information and people that matter to you.
Finding relevancy in Big Data is like finding the needle in the haystack, in particular when it comes to visualizing data for users, instead of analyzing Big Data for commercial purposes.
The challenge is twofold: first, helping users find a concrete, immediate answer to, for example, the following question: “What is the social web saying about Brand X?” Second, displaying this data, in form of user posts, in a visually attractive way, so as to trigger an emotional response and serve him who is looking for an answer with a recommendation or satisfactory response. In theory, this sounds fine.
In practice, this sounds near impossible given the amount of Big Data that needs to be stored, searched, and presented – for any giant in the industry, let alone for a start-up. What makes it possible, nonetheless, is an approach contrary to that of a search engine: which is, to focus on answering one question first, and then the next, and then the next; instead of trying to make it happen all at once. In other words, what others can learn from us is this: Big Data can only be conquered by little steps.
Our expectations were that we could make accessible all the valuable opinions, recommendations, news, questions, and answers that already exist as user posts in social networks. Our expectations also were to build a product that could cut through the noise, access all this information, and display it in a relevant way. These expectations strongly influenced our design solution, for in our opinion, only a simple, aesthetic design would serve for our product and help us reach our expectations.
In keeping with a simple, aesthetic design, which is supposed to give the user a feeling of simplicity and ease while searching for certain social user posts, relevancy proved to be the deciding factor. Not one relevant post but twenty were necessary, which is circa the number of posts most users scan over when they search for something on Thrives.
If all posts are relevant, i.e. on topic, visual, authoritative, diverse, and understandable, then we are successful. But the displayed information has to be transparent as well, i.e. it must be clear, whose post it is, from which network this post comes from, when it was posted, and more.
The design challenge then is, to incorporate all of this information and to display it to the user to prove the relevancy, while keeping it clean and simple in the process. Yet, ironically, if the display of all this simple information is kept simple, clear, visual, and aesthetic, one post alone can be relevant enough and serve as a beneficial user experience.
By directly displaying user posts from social networks, Thrives brings you directly to the user-generated content, instead of two static website links or pages or profiles, to which most search engines lead you.
The idea behind this is to “cut out the middleman,” so to speak, to create a quicker, more unique, and more personal user experience by connecting users directly. Say, for example, someone is looking for a recipe. Either, he goes to Google and is presented a prioritized list of websites. Or he signs up to Pinterest, or some other network. Or he goes to Thrives, and gets 5 user recipes directly. He doesn’t even have to be a member of Thrives, or of another social network, in order to get this content.
This is the core idea of Thrives, to establish such direct relationships between people who offer information on a certain topic, and people who are looking for such information.
All of the growing amount of user-generated social content and micro-blogging begs the question, whether content will continue to be funneled through websites in the future (which is pretty much still the only way content can be found through search engines) or whether content will become directly accessible.
The more accessible social user-generated content becomes, the more solutions will be in demand to make the whole Internet user experience a better, more fulfilling one.
So this is the path that we at Thrives envision, and thus we believe that our (however small) idea will facilitate and inspire many more innovations that will break through the current Internet status quo, creating a shift from the impersonal (domains) to the more personal (profiles).