Is Unthink the Un-Facebook?

Nathan Pensky · September 19, 2011 · Short URL:

Unthink goes for broke with anti-Facebook rhetoric

There's a new social networking site in town, and it's on a mission to take down its competitors.

In fact, the masterminds behind the new Unthink, which was unveiled last week, have described their startup so far almost entirely in terms of what it is not, mainly not Facebook, Google +, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Kickstarter. In everything from its name, to its marketing strategy, to the revolutionary rhetoric behind its initial press, Unthink has characterized itself as the opposite of these established social networking sites.

The tagline on Unthink's site is "Emancipate yourself."

By highlighting what it called in a release "the exploitative nature of the existing [social networking] paradigm," Unthink has all but declared itself the Un-Facebook. in a phone interview with AllThingsD last week, Unthink CEO Natasha Dedis claimed that she got the idea to start her company after her son tried to join Facebook, and she read through their terms of service.

Unthink, which is based in Florida, India, and Ireland and has raised $3 million in funding from investors that include DouglasBay Capital, could not be reached for immediate comment.

Manifesto-like campaigning

Chief among the "exploitations" Unthink promises to correct are the owning of user information by Facebook. Unthink calls those who interface with their site "owners," rather than "users." Other grievances with the current social networking landscape include, "every-day term changes and privacy ciontroversies," "frequent redesigns," and "increasingly intrusive advertising."

The agrressive rhetoric adopted by Unthink is nowehere more evident than in a series of videos released a few weeks prior to their launch. One video is tellingly titled, "UNTHINK to Facebook and Google -- It's FU Time." In it, a young woman passionately tells of Facebook, characterizing the site as a "damn puppet show." Another video paints Facebook's terms of services in terms of a "virtual housing crisis" metaphor.

This go-for-broke tactic employed by Unthink in their bid to unseat the social netowkring behemoths is not new. Last year, networking upstart Disapora raised $200,000 via a Kickstarter account by likewise taking Facebook's privacy and information-owning policies to task. On said Kickstarter page, Diaspora cite a lecture given by Columbia proessor Eben Moglen, who vilifies the handing over of personal information to corporations.

Similarly, Anybeat also touts its own differences to Facebook, which include not using its password protection system as a "log-in credential for other sites" and "the subjugation" of "personal information...for profit." Manifesto-like campaigning has been a tack also used by Google, who described their option to export information from Google + as a Data Liberation Front.

The verbiage employed in the actual interface of Unthink's actual site is much friendlier, much less revolutionary. It uses a "Suite" as a platform to store personal information, a "Stream" in lieu of Facebook's News Feed, and a "Stage" as a "social microsite" geared toward business networking.

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