Black mirror in real life — Friendz version

Technology, eye implants and mobile devices. A world where people share their daily activities and rate their interactions with others from a “one-to-five-star” scale. A world where one’s current average rating can be seen by others and has significant impact on his or her social status.

It seems like you have already heard it, right? In fact, you have: this is the incipit of Black Mirror (the British tv series, created by Charlie Brooker) third season, first episode.

We anticipate you that here at Friendz we worked to transform all those fictional speculations into something real. Curious? Let’s start from the beginning.

A judgment-oriented world

In the episode “Nosedive” the protagonist, Lacie, lives in a wonderful, pastel colour world where everything is clean, pink and peaceful (at the condition that people have a social ranking above 4.5 stars). Her reality is regulated by peer-reviews that are continuously and mutually exchanged between members of the community. Following this mechanism, everybody is allowed to rate whoever popularity. After whatever human interaction, through the smartphone, the judgement on other people is formulated and delivered. The combination of all these ratings defines a person popularity. The higher the star-average, the more a person enters in elite groups (where members are offered special benefits and invited to exclusive places). Clearly, those who are labelled as “troublesome” or “unconventional” are excluded and receive bad reviews. Returning to Lacie, she is obsessed by the idea of being popular and tries everything to improve her ranking status. To do so, she engaged in an absurd road trip, peppered by fortuitous contacts and non-sense situations.

Lacie living in a pink-4.2 stars world

What would it happen if it was real?

So many people wondered about the possibility of rating others’ social skills in the real world. In the subway, in the street, at work, at school, in short, everywhere, expressing a social rating with 1 or 5 stars, after every human interaction. Just imagine what the situation would be looking like if every single daily activity would be regulated by other people judgement and this judgement was the key to access services and identify social status!

We discovered it

We decided to conduct a social experiment, adding in our app the possibility of doing something similar to what we saw in “Black Mirror”.

Every time a user takes part into a campaign, her picture is published in the app internal wall, where it is possible to scroll all the photos that have been uploaded by other community members. In Friendz, below every picture, instead of the usual “like” button, you find 5 little stars. The 5 stars give people the possibility of rating and determining the quality of every photo. Anonymously, as you are allowed to express your judgement over strangers’ pictures, everybody else has the same right to do so with yours. For obvious reasons, it is impossible to rate your own pics .

If the sense of using the 5-stars system was restricted to the goal of providing a quality opinion over photos, Friendz would have probably been a copycat of tons of other apps, delivering the same services.

But Friendz is different.

In Friendz, the score you get with the stars method can be accumulated and defines user’s overall performance. To be more precise, is the participation into campaign that allows Friendz Coins’ collection . What is new is that also quality mechanism influences campaigns reception.

Friendz 5-stars system

Quality influences activity (and the way around)

Why is it important to participate in our campaigns ? Well, simple: the advantage lays in the fact that all the pictures taken for the campaigns end on your wall and can be rated. The more the quality of the pictures is high, the more other users will rate you ( most likely, with a great degree of stars!). Consequently, the more a picture is rated, the more its probability of being present between the popular photos increases. This mechanism leads to a virtuous circle: with the increment of the score, in facts, it follows a better overall feeling of the profile standard.

Once the user reaches a certain quality level, the possibility of being chosen for a brand campaign is greater too. Within the target delineated by the company, Friendz favours those users whose photographic skills have been tested and are over the standards, in order to provide a quality service to the clients’ company.

Basically, users’ ability of being active online and his skills in taking pictures determined his app internal rating and, consequently, increase the choice of the awards.

How a Friendz pro’s profile looks like!

Social Obsession?

It is true, then, that having high-level ranking implies the access to better services? In Friendz we discovered that the competition and the possibility of increasing internal app rate pushed people to do their best, experimenting new ways of taking photos and asking for professional advice to perfecting them.

Our community and our team love this mechanism, because it creates addiction (but in a good way!). Users live their participation into campaigns with joy, welcoming with enthusiasm the possibility of getting in touch with other people similar to them for hobbies and passions.

Our users feel stimulated by the campaign and want to exit their comfort zone to take pictures which are peculiar and, in the majority of cases, very special. In opposition to what happens in Black Mirror, anxiety and competition are not the kind of emotions that drive the interaction between users but, instead, they are replaced by curiosity and determination to improve.

Moreover, Friendz doesn’t penalise or isolate users with low rating! The fun campaigns, in fact, arrive to everybody to provide all the members of the community with equal opportunity to growth and learn. We nurture, within our company values, those of inclusion and mutual support the most: leaving anyone behind is something that we dislike. With this approach, we address the community too: both through online communication on the social media and through the campaigns we deliver.

Follow us and read our next articles to know how our reality will transform in “Black Mirror” style, once the token will be introduced!

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