Take a moment to think about your recent experience on Facebook. Your friend posted great news and you’re super excited for them! But when was the last time you actually spoke to that person?
College? High School?
You decide you’d like to learn more about their life since you two last connected, so you move on to Instagram only to find their curated life.
Everyone who’s ever wished for an authentic, relevant social media experience can now join SpokeHub, a fast-growing platform that gives users a chance to engage in meaningful conversations about the subjects they care most about. SpokeHub sees social media differently, with hopes to bring real conversation back.
Launched June 2017, the black-owned tech company is rapidly becoming a go-to platform for users to express views safely with like-minded individuals. Each of the five founders (Robert Hartsfield Jr., Richard Berryman III, John York, John McAdory and Terry Johnson) wanted to give users — called “hubsters” — something more than the usual social media sites. By downloading SpokeHub through the Apple App Store or Google Play, hubsters can zero in on those topics that interest them most, from Black Lives Matter, to the latest in affordable health care.
“We offer a platform to connect with people, you do or don’t know, around a common interest. Where hubsters can agree to disagree, but still understand where one another is coming from. Our focus is true two-way engagement, which differentiates us from every other social media platform out there,” says Hartsfield Jr., the company’s Chief Executive Officer.
The Durham, North Carolina based company does not have the “Silicon Valley” story of most successful technology/social media apps that precede it. Backed by the Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange Program, SpokeHub is making large waves in the social media space and hopes to inspire the next generation of black entrepreneurs. SpokeHub allows more effective and engaging communication among hubsters around the globe, while providing opportunities for businesses and celebrities to have direct access to their customers and fan bases. Rapid analytics are offered to paying users for targeted marketing.
The idea for the app first came to York during a local high school basketball game. He knew fans wanted to talk about a referee call they clearly didn’t agree with, but he realized there was no place to do so online. Many of his Facebook followers, for example, would not have been interested in a controversial basketball call. So he came up with the idea to provide a “room” or channel for people with shared interests to converse with each other, without the worry of boring others.
Hartsfield Jr. adds, “Everyone wants their voice to be heard. SpokeHub gives you that place to truly engage around the topics you are most passionate about. We’ve seen people talk smack about their favorite teams during the NFL Playoffs with our live scoreboard updates. And also observed people talk about the royal engagement and what Meghan Markle is going to wear. We’ve even seen people agree to disagree about the republican tax overhaul bill. The beauty of SpokeHub is that there is something for everybody and if you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can create it and invite other hubsters to join you.”
Though less than one year old, SpokeHub is already refining its innovation strategy. “We have released augmented reality to increase engagement in a fun way around events, brands and topics. This functionality allows you to scan an image or logo which gives the user a chance to see an experience, movie trailer, exclusive content, etc. simply by holding up their phone which drives you to a hub. At many companies, the question is 'what’s next?' But at SpokeHub, we often have to slow ourselves down because innovation is so natural to the heart and soul of our developers, team members and brand ambassadors.”