6Tribes: Do we need another social media network?

We speak to Anthony Rose who has just launched the new UK social network, 6Tribes, aimed initially at urban millennials

People always ask the question: ‘Is another social network really necessary?’ says Anthony Rose, who launched 6Tribes in the UK today. Yet, as he very cogently points out, “all things evolve” and people are “happy with what they have until something new comes along”.

In fact, 6Tribes is attempting to occupy the space everyone wants to be a part of: relevant content. It wants to be the social network that draws young people (at first) together based on genuine shared interests. This could be a love of food, coffee, or theatre, each of which are grouped into pre-determined ‘tribes’.

The app uses an algorithm to pull preferences from content shared on other networks, like Facebook.

“There is a clear need for a next generation content feed,” explains Rose. This is because at present there are two types of network:

There are big public ones, like Facebook, which show everything to everyone - including things young people may not want to share with parents or potential recruiters. Many are even worried about “things that will count against them days – or even years – later,” Rose adds. Then there are private messaging apps, like WhatsApp, which sit at the other end of the spectrum.

“There is a gap in the middle,” says Rose.

Rose is keen to stress: “This is version one of a London startup. We have a very big to-do list”. In fact, the app has been launched iteratively, along Agile principles, and has factored in interviews and user-testing from 100 people in their 20s. Rose says that the feedback from these people has been extremely consistent.

Firstly, as events change in people’s lives and they progress from school to university to their first job they are looking for new ways to connect with people. Secondly, the internet can be a lonely place and it can be hard to find a sense of “belonging”. Thirdly, people get a sense of achievement and satisfaction out of generating clicks, shares and comments from their own social content. And as any content marketer will tell you focusing on a relevant topic increases the likelihood of achieving this.

We have all seen social networks come and go and it is hard to determine how successful an app like this but as Rose puts it “any number of people have ideas” but he and his partner have a good “track record” which has facilitated better funding.

Rose is the creator of BBC iPlayer while he and his business partner Ernesto Schmitt, co-founded social TV platform Beamly in 2011. The team has raised a seed round, with angel investors, however, it is not revealing how much at this stage.

“We’re at the beginning of a journey says Rose,” and the way the app develops will depend on the analytics and user feedback. This initial launch is UK only, but there is a clear intention to move out to the US, with a push into specific urban groups like New York foodies. The time frame and scale of all this will depend on initial success and the resultant second round of funding.