“Our opinions become fixed at the point where we stop thinking.” -Ernest Renan.
Meet State.com: a social-networking site that connects people through their opinions. After Wall-posting, colourfully-edited-picture-sharing, especially them cupcakes, hashtags and character limits, an opinion-based social network might just be the next big catch!
After all, connecting people through opinions rather than geography/acquaintances has the potential of uniting us through proximity of thought; while hopefully not creating much of a false consensus effect.
I’ve messed around the site for about a week, voicing 90 opinions on a range of Categories such as TV Shows, Books and Publications, Travel and Lifestyle, Politics and more, on topics that may be as broad as “Reading” to “Ed Sheeran”, “Sharing food-related pictures on Instagram”, “Voting” and even “People who constantly say ‘you know'”. By urging people to ‘State’ their opinions on a range of existent/self-created topics/URLs, State.com succeeds in teasing even the stereotypically passive internet user out of their shell!
The State.com Experience in a Nutshell
Interface: The interface is all kinds of sexy. A gorgeous, glitzy red dominates the State.com design. The buttons to STATE or Respond or select a maximum of three words that match your opinion on said topic (a pretty cool way of creating uniform parameters to match our opinions/agreement with others) are satisfyingly chunky.
Accessibility: While it took me a day to find my way around the site, and figure out which was where and for what, once I did, accessibility to various features was effortless.
The only exception: attempting to create a new topic in the midst of responding to an opinion; where the navigation could be a little less slippery.
As for accessing content itself, it’s easy and seamless: quickened by the process of “Tuning In” (State.com’s equivalent of “follow”) to a category, subcategory or person.
Features: It’s quite a rush; responding to diverse range of topics with your specific and sometimes-biased opinion. You can also give someone else’s well-stated opinion a “Well-said” (State.com’s equivalent of Facebook’s “Like”); a feature which thankfully encourages articulation over blind popularity as a means to this end.
The Sharing options: to your twitter/Facebook feed or by asking State contacts what they think are expected and might do well to help the site grow.
Other features include Top Word Groups, Sentiment Range, Trending Topics and Meet…: all of which tell you where your opinion stands in terms of general populace. They also help connect you to people with similar/compatible opinions. These features do much to enhance the awesomeness of the Interface; giving you the feel of being a part of an evolving schema.
What makes State.com work?
Well, more than anything it’s the rapidity and diversity that characterises the State experience. While it allows longer posts, the bare minimum involves Stating your opinion using 1-3 words from a drop-down; with auto-suggestions that help when you’re stuck on finding the right word. That’s pretty quick, right? Also, it connects you to people from all over, through a mix of topics that do much to pique intellectual, not just superficial interests. With a lot of superficiality in the social media, why not take on a medium that demands nothing but your honest and simplified opinion?
Disagreement and debates, are of course, inevitable and even healthy here. Because after all, isn’t that the point? To state your opinion? A mere flurry of like-minded talk would’ve scared me, to be honest. Reinforcing a single line of thought does not do much to broaden one’s stance!
Speaking of simple and rapid, the site is tailored to be used on-the-go for iOS users, with the State App for iPhone/iPad. I do hope an Android version is also in the making. That would definitely increase the usability of the site for me!
FINAL THOUGHTS: I stand by my initial[ly stated] impression of this 2014-launched England-based social networking site that builds on opinion-networks: