Two lawyers, two doctors, and an army officer walk into a Zoom meeting and make Bright the best digital social community in the world. The team’s education and diversity of experience have given us the tools to confront some of the toughest tech and social problems.
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What a month this has been! I know that most of our team was glued to their TVs watching the England Football team play in their first tournament final since before any of us were born. One of the great things about sporting competition is that it can bring entire communities together, all working towards one goal (pun intended).
Hopefully, you also had a chance to read the article by Natalya Jones. She asked if communication is the fundamental building block of human success because it leads to collaboration and community. Indeed, humans can communicate and work together on complex tasks in a way that no other species can.
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We start learning those skills very soon after we are born. Even as very young children, we take on collaborative tasks and often choose toys that allow us to play with siblings or friends. Rather aptly, Bad Dinosaur, our app development team, sent us a Lego dinosaur kit when we started working with them. This was left untouched until this week, when Taryn and Jay’s children worked together to build it. I will not speculate how collaborative they were in the process. Still, I can tell you that Bright and Bad Dinosaur have been collaborating hard to bring you the Bright App.
“So, how is it going?” I hear you ask. Hopefully, you’ll excuse my lack of humility when I say, “OH BOY, it’s awesome!”. As Jay mentioned last month, some of the Bright team had the opportunity to meet with the development group from Bad Dinosaur. Since then, we have gone back to Zoom meetings. As all of us have found during the last year of isolation, technology can bring us together, which is what we want the Bright App to do.
The bulk of the design phase is now done, and we are thrilled with the look and feel of the user interface. The design is still under wraps, but I can tell you that, so far, everyone who has seen it loves it.
Now we are entirely into the build phase, and this, from the outside, is less exciting. Designs change very quickly when you’re working with a great designer, but like Lego, great software is not built in a day. So, whilst the fun of the design phase is behind us, the collaboration between Bright and Bad Dinosaur is ramping up.
Applications, even simple ones, are deceptively complex, and the Bright App is not a simple application. After all, we aren’t trying to bring you another social media app. We are trying to fundamentally break with the toxic paradigm of clickbait, information bubbles, and doom-scrolling. We want the Bright App to look, feel, and operate differently.
Bright can’t just look and feel great to use. It must work and give you the experience you deserve. After all, if you want second-rate experiences, you can find them easily. Our competition is apparently happy to provide annoying and confusing user interfaces, frustrating and highly commercial feeds, and enough bots to cast the next 10 Star Wars movies.
The software isn’t the only thing that makes the experience worthwhile, of course. We want Bright to be an inspiring community, driven by communication, that most human of skills. Technology can bring us together, but as the disgraceful post-penalty postings of the worst element of England “supporters” proved, technology can also drive us apart. We need mechanisms in place to account for the worst impulses of society's least inspiring members.
Barney Ronay said in the Guardian the morning after the disappointment of the Euro2020 final. “There is a group of people in this country that needs to be identified, censured and made, failing some divine conversion to the light, to shut the f*** up.”
He also suggested that a teenage intern with a delete button could have more successfully policed the players’ social media accounts than the big tech companies did. While we agree on that point, we also think we can do better than asking an intern to read that vile rubbish. Our open letter makes our position very clear. In this, I think we agree with the vast majority of people, everywhere.
The Bright team believes that building the Bright experience must be done and done well. The stakes could not be higher. It’s not just the mental health and well-being of young people across the country. The social media status quo threatens the fundamental basis of how our society functions. Bright will be an alternative to that dystopia. It can only be built by bringing a team together, communicating, collaborating, and, in the end, becoming a community with shared beliefs and goals. That is, after all, the story of human success.
Thank you for reading the App update. If you would like to be part of building a Brighter place to be on the internet then please consider joining our Beta Test group. We believe that diverse backgrounds make for deeper and more meaningful connections. Fill out our Beta Test Survey to help us build an App that serves a diverse community from the very start.
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