Telepath Wants to Be the Kinder, Gentler Twitter. Will It Succeed?
A new social network aims to be a safer place for marginalized communities
When is the last time you truly had a fun and delightful experience on a social network? I asked myself that same question after being invited to join Telepath, a new social network focused on conversation and providing spaces where people can find community with folks who share their interests. Telepath is trying to bring the fun from the early internet back to social networks as well as prevent the hate and abuse that run rampant on platforms like Twitter and Reddit. Founded by two former Quora employees, Richard Henry and Marc Bodnick, Telepath opened sign-ups for its private beta in late September for iOS only.
To be honest, I had low expectations when I was initially invited to check it out. New social apps have come and gone; I remember years ago when the Peach app launched and seemed exciting at first but quickly petered out. What surprised me when I made my Telepath account was the quality of the conversations being had. Conversations happen in what they call “Networks,” which look like hashtags but are actually communities where you can share and discuss based on a particular topic. Some of the first ones I joined were #iOS, #PelotonUsers, #Books, and #ScienceFiction. There’s no character limit on posts or comments, so you can engage in conversation naturally without feeling restricted. When you make a post in a network, there is a “Rules” button that explicitly states that you should be kind and not attack people based on identity, that there’s no harassment or fake news, and more. For a new app, they’re taking a serious stance on moderation I have not seen before. Co-founder Bodnick even tweeted this:
My ambition is for Telepath to build a community (1) which is great for women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ writers, (2) where disinformation doesn’t proliferate, and (3) where the overall tone is very kind.
Seeing that made me enthusiastic to continue to try the platform. The bar is sadly low when it comes to moderation, as we’ve seen with popular new apps like Clubhouse — it’s usually a forgotten “feature” instead of being considered a necessity. Telepath is ensuring safety features are at the forefront…