Scrappy outsider startup Unthink.com, which bills itself as the “anti-Facebook,” is opening up its doors today, allowing in its first round of beta testers. The Tampa-based company with $2.5 million in funding from DouglasBay Capital sees itself as a more open, – one where its users are the owners of their data, and not the product being sold to advertisers. Unthink is the kind of startup that could only come from outside of traditional tech hotspots like Silicon Valley or New York, as there’s a certain level of audacity, and perhaps even ignorance, that you need in order to think you have a shot at displacing socialgiant Facebook and all of its 800 million users.
Taking down Facebook is the core of Unthink’s marketing campaign. In fact, the majority of Unthink’s message is about what it is not: it’s not another social network, it’s a social revolution. Unthinkers are not users, they’re owners. Unthink is not in control, you are. And so on. It even has its own manifesto, deeds and covenants. “If we want to be free, we have to control our own communications…we have to claim that power,”Natasha Dedis shouted with vitriol to the crowd at September’s Tampa Bay Barcamp (the un-conference), before delving into all the ways that Facebook does its users wrong.
She explained that the idea for Unthink came to her when her son wanted to sign up for Facebook and she read the terms of service. They were not something she wanted to agree to because they could change at any time. But for her son, that decision was met with a lot of anxiety. “He was really stressed about it, like he didn’t have a choice – he had to be on Facebook.” It was either be on Facebook, or be a pariah in school, she said. Whichever decision Dedis made, she felt like she was being bad mother.
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