AOL chat rooms may be considered dusty tech relics, but they were a cornerstone of the early days of mass Internet.
Mightybell founder Gina Bianchini thinks today's social networks are too much about broadcasting our individual lives and not enough about engaging with each other. She's using AOL as inspiration (for real!) to try to change the way we connect online.
Today, the number of social networks available to us means there's a surfeit of places to come together online--we share aspirational photos on Pinterest, photos from our lives on Instagram, news on Google+, Internet happenings on Tumblr, and everything else on Facebook. But with so many channels to work with (waste time on?), the things we want to say are easily drowned out in noise, making it hard to establish genuine, intimate relationships with groups of people who aren’t close friends and family.
“In the early web days, LiveJournals and AOL chat rooms were all about how people were participating in the conversation. They were about deeply engaged communities,” Bianchini tells Fast Company. “The current web is about broadcasting personal announcements into a world of feeds.”
On Mightybell, Bianchini's new social network, it's less about "me" or "you," and more about "us." Bianchini wants Mightybell to be a hub-of-all-trades for small groups of people--think book clubs, study groups, close friends, cycling enthusiasts. And the key is turning online inspiration into real-life action, something Bianchini claims no social network has yet figured out.