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Unthink has launched today, at http://www.unthink.com . It's a new social networking site, placing itself in the same field as Facebook, Twitter and GooglePlus.

What sets Unthink apart from these established services? Well, three interesting things. First - the service has already created a complex image of its diverse demographic. Second - it was not set up by fresh-faced technologists. And third - you can't use the site until you have chosen a brand affiliation.

Do you fit the legend? You'd probably find it too boring to want to.

Look at www.unthink.com, and whilst you're at it, check out their youtube channel as well http://www.youtube.com/user/unthink, with twelve slick films. Nice productions, presumably put together by Unthink Corporation's Creative Director Greg Jorgenson, founding partner of Metropical Marketing, an online marketing firm with a sadly dead website http://www.themetropicalgroup.com. Using a heady mix of gorgeous people, snappy editing, and breathless copy, the films and website affirm what we always felt but were too afraid to speak out about - that FaceBook, Twitter and GooglePlus are evil because they secretly own our content, change privacy policies, and have no regard for our aspirations. Unthink will change all that, because Unthink is made of people like you and me, who are extraordinary, who change the world by unthinking, who are angry at being led by the nose as consumers, and who need a social networking site which lets us … well, what does it let us do?

If you look past the embarrassing naivete, and sophomoric rallying-cry, of Unthink's cultish image, you get to their manifesto, expressed in four documents which make up the legal relationship between the site and the users. In the Free Occupancy section of the "Unthink Emancipation Covenants" lies the heart of the matter:

"You are guaranteed free occupancy of your Suite by endorsing a brand. Your Suite has maintenance costs just like any home has utility bills, association dues, and property taxes. The brand you endorse will cover all your Suite maintenance costs in exchange for being showcased in your iEndorse channel. Through this endorsement deal, you can enjoy your Suite free of cost and undisturbed by advertisements or spyware. You also have the option of a self-endorsed Suite for which you cover the maintenance costs yourself."

In other words, all users of Unthink are automatically brand endorsers.

Which brings us to the second difference - Unthink's creators. Following the meagre webtrail for Anatasia (Natasha) Dedis, you discover she's a successful entrepreneur in the health and fitness services world. Tracking down past businesses from her LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/pub/natasha-dedis/22/445/504, two of her previous companies were a chain of fitness centres in Greece, if the following article is to be believed: http://www.athex.gr/content/en/announcements/companiespress/press_date.asp?dt=05/05/2004

An early description of the service is found in this patent application: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2009/0327928.html
Using a UI metaphor of trees and leafs (sic), users can manage solicited and unsolicited commercial email. On the other side, businesses are able to join up into "rings", which then share discount coupons with users.

Bringing it up to date on the topic of Unthink, her interview with sixestate is revealing and entertaining reading: http://sixestate.com/interview-with-natasha-dedis-founder-ceo-of-unthink/

So what happens when an "Inventor - Rebel - Strategist - Incurable Idealist" from the body image industry creates a social networking site? Pretty much just what we find - an aspirational but empty image of social networking, legalese couched in late-20th century metaphors of real-estate, and a super-smart monetisation concept.

I think it's going to be a huge hit with coupon clippers, gym bunnies, homekeepers, college students, moms and dads, sports or car enthusiasts … in fact, anyone who's just a regular vaguely middle-class kinda person with some disposable income, who likes to have deals and discounts semi-passively directed at them, based on their group identity. Unthink is basically a socially-mediated Groupon, combined with a catchy idealism of giving you rights to private property, and a right to decide who does what with that property.
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5 comments
 
Eurgh! Sounds like those pesky Borg are trying to break out of the shuttle bay again. Kill them with fire.
 
Well done, Justine. So NIke pays for my membership? How free is that. I'll join anyway, hoping to meet some of the gym bunnies...
 
Don't know why, but I don't like the style. And why on earth would I want "to connect with brands"? The only reasons why brands would "connect" with me is to get my money.

This self-proclaimed "social revolution" is essentially the same thing as FB (and maybe Google+). The revolution is here when everyone pays for their f*ing social network directly and out of their own pockets. That's where freedom begins.
cathy w
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"unthink" just says it all really.
cathy w
 
I will stick with Pottermore. :D
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