Originally, Uriji Jami’s vision came from an observation. Or rather a frustration. In view of the low engagement generated by our posts, is it worth spending all the time we devote to social networks?
I am very active on the internet. When I post an article on my Facebook page and I get three likes and two comments, it suits me fine. Still, I always wonder what has happened to my 200 contacts. Due to the confusing way, my news feed functions, am I really and virtually in contact with them? Have all my friends got access to my posts? Do I have access to theirs? … I don’t think so.
For the average user, quantity took precedence over quality. And in most cases, despite our daily sharing, our projects do not materialise themselves. Indeed, Jean Clauteaux, co-founder of Uriji Jami confides, not without some bitterness. “In the case of LinkedIn, I think I have done the job. I have an exemplary career, many written recommendations, awards, a medal of merit, a published book. Yet, the quality of interactions is poor.” For his part, James Aschehoug co-founder of Uriji Jami, remembers nostalgically the beginnings of Internet in the mid 90s. “It was a blessed era. People shared and helped one another in almost everything they did. It was the golden age of forums.” At the age of fifteen, James was part of Internet’s early adopters in France.
For Jean, social networks are solely based on a commercial model. They are not there to share and materialise our interactions but to collect the maximum amount of information on users. A model where not only interactions are poor, but also where the past is omnipresent. According to James, “We cannot have an accurate representation of someone on social networks, let alone their potential because we focus primarily on their past and do not take into account their dreams, their future.” The present does come down to an increasingly ephemeral, trivial and impersonal moment. And the future, if taken into account, is just based on some more or less compelling events.
An ever-growing number of users, social networks that are increasingly diversified and specific, and yet the interactions are getting poorer and less personal. This is the frustrating conclusion our two founders have reached. By sharing less, the opportunities that the Internet may provide diminish, and as the engagement is increasingly unsatisfying, users expose themselves less on Internet.
How can Uriji Jami reverse this trend?
The frustration expressed at the outset by our founders triggers the desire. A desire to create a new social network where one can share their experiences and dreams to achieve their potential. Jean is convinced that the way social networks currently operate does not support voluntarily and explicitly positive initiatives and real interactions between people. “Today, people in favour of a fairer world don’t have any channel to act, help each other and work together.” In view of the current trend of social networks to move towards the simplification and trivialization of communication, Uriji Jami takes the opposite stance. Hence the need to set up a network made up of inspiring men and women of goodwill. Users with a particular mind-set who engage right from the start, to share their dreams and experiences, to make their interactions a reality in order to fulfil their potential. Thus, for James, “for every dream there is a matching story. Indeed, it is very likely, that someone has already realised what you are trying to achieve. And by connecting the right people together, we can help people reach their potential either by realising their dreams or by transmitting their experience and know-how.“
How can we share our dreams and stories? By using a tool. “To start with, it will be an iOS application and later also a web application. A matching system based on an algorithm that takes into account users’ dreams and stories will suggest inspiring people to connect with,” says James. Some dreams materialise themselves in the long run and so the user will be able to update his profile at various milestone of that dream. Some stories evolve every day. Therefore, every time you connect to the Uriji Jami app, the algorithm is enriched with every user’s contributions. Thus, the results are never the same.
What is actually new in these interactions is the introduction of the financial aspect; if desired, the user has the possibility to monetize his expertise. Although, we can always share our experience for free, giving users the opportunity to have some financial compensation may enhance the potential of interactions by providing them credibility, recognizing their value and establishing a relationship of equals between the parties. Some people may well feel more at ease if, to complete their project, they have the possibility to ‘buy’ someone else’s know-how.
While this might seem obvious, the original vision of Uriji Jami is life. Life is our main asset. This terminology borrowed from the world of finance highlights a key point: life is a capital. And as any capital, you have to make it grow. Growing it by developing the potential of every human being. “It is not money or material things that count, but your life, your past experiences and your dreams,” explains James. “Posting dreams, projects, stories and experiences would switch the interplay of social interactions back to real quality substance,” Jean added. Yet, by basing Uriji Jami’s vision on quality interactions and life stories, aren’t you leaning against the wind of the current momentum that favours immediacy and the promptness of sharing? In this regard, James is confident. “We might be against the grain of things that are a bit frivolous, in the moment; on the other hand, I don’t think you can be against the grain of timeless and invariable things: Human beings dreaming and telling their story.“
By taking into account the dreams of human beings, Uriji Jami introduces a new temporal aspect in social networks: the future. And this is totally innovative. “Currently, you cannot interact by discussing specifically about the future and the past, dreams and stories,” says Jean. “We are creating a timeline to include the various aspects of our lives. The past with the experiences that have marked us and that we wish to share; the present with what we are doing. But what is new is announcing in the same timeline what we want to do in the future in a projective manner“, says James enthusiastically.
By linking the past with the future via the present, Uriji Jami’s vision gives to the future the same importance as the past and present. The future becomes a positive aspect of the social network and an integral part of the interactions that will follow. Jean goes even further. Keeping in mind what we want to bring to the present from our future, he wants to create a positive relationship between human beings and time. “We would like to work on the user’s ability to manipulate time, to cultivate his past and to create as many ties as possible with his future to make it happen.” Therefore, claiming that imagination makes action possible, Jean is convinced that we can claim both time and space for ourselves. According to James, “our past is linked to experiences that occurred in a specific geographical context.” The Uriji Jami vision, thus, wishes to bring a spatial and contextual dimension into the timeline of each user profile. Hence, integrating space in our timeline will be essential to capture the user’s complexity and to assess accurately his potential.
Highlighting the potential of the human being is the essence and vision of Uriji Jami.
Post-It #3: Creating your vision…