What is weBelong
weBelong is a new social netowork app aiming to be less toxic and more inclusive. weBelong is about friendship regardless of who you are, you can be yourself.
Today, the founder of weBelong, Yoshua will take through the story behind.
weBelong launched in January 2021. When I started developing this app, as I was getting tired of many social media.
Instead of expressing my personality, all I could think about was how to get likes. The posts around me were no longer unique to me. They were all about making the same dance moves, beautiful landscapes, and sharing only "cool" lifestyles.
How we start
I wanted to create a place where people could be themselves and express themselves freely, where everyone can thrive no matter who they are. I myself was diagnosed as ADHD and have struggled fitting in to the society, often feeling like a failure in this society. I always needed to pretend to be someone different, which was really tough.
We started to build an app called Ashley, an app for interacting with artificial intelligence. The concept was that the artificial intelligence would be the listener, and the person speaking would be able to be themselves to a sort of artificial intelligence, so the AI aims to have a therapeutic communication called motivational interviewing.
We shut Ashley down because it seemed that our own technological and financial capabilities, not to mention the experience of the app, were not going to be enough to reach this future.
I wondered if it would be possible to create a place where people can be more like themselves and respect each other's differences in a human-human relationship, rather than a human-AI relationship.
Why is this?
I thought that people might want to prove that they are better than others, so I searched for some articles on the topic. There are several studies on social networks and mental health, and I found both negative and positive aspects of using social networks.
The positive aspect is that by using Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tiktok, many people can relieve loneliness and get advice from others. On the other hand, there is a tendency for comparison issues that makes you feel the other person is better than you that can cause to mental health problems.
But why does this happen?
Competition is a natural occurrence, and not all competition is bad. It may be true that competition makes people do things today that they could not do yesterday, or make them study harder or play more sports.
On the other hand, I believe that who you are and the lifestyle that fits you is something that cannot and does not need to be changed.
The competition on social media is vain in that people are getting exhausted to faking or bragging to each other about who they are and their lifestyles in order to get likes, and because that is something that cannot be changed. I believe that this is a major problem because the people who post become troubled by the gap between their social media profiles and reality, and the people who see the posts start to feel as if the other person is better than they are.
Mental health and social media
Researchers in UK have done important research on perfectionism and comparison of social media, by measuring depressed mood, social comparisons, and body appreciation.
The researchers examined two distinct types of perfectionism. Rigid perfectionism, involves feeling that your performance should always be flawless and that your worth is based on being flawless. People who score high on rigid perfectionism tend to feel awful when they fail to meet the extremely high standards they have for themselves. These individuals tend to strongly agree with statements like, “My value as a person depends on being perfect.” The second type of perfectionism the authors explored was self-critical perfectionism. This type of perfectionism includes believing that other people make excessive demands of you, feeling intense doubt over any mistakes you make, and engaging in high levels of self-criticism. People who experience high levels of self-critical perfectionism are more likely to get depression. They tend to strongly agree with statements like, “When I make a mistake, I feel like a failure.”
When the researchers asked the girls in the study about the context in which their social comparisons occurred, more than 80 percent were with someone seen on social media. Analysis revealed that appearance-focused comparisons predicted more depression symptoms and lower body appreciation. In other words, girls who more frequently compared how they looked to how others looked in social media images tended to experience more symptoms of depression and report less kindness and compassion toward their own bodies. But the researchers were particularly interested in how perfectionism might play a role in these associations. Here the story gets a bit more complicated. When they tested whether girls who scored high on perfectionism were more vulnerable to these negative effects of social media comparisons, it was only self-critical perfectionism that seemed to play a role. In other words, the sense that others are holding you to impossible standards seems to be particularly damaging when you’re confronted with social media images.
Stripping away the research jargon, here’s how the sequence of events might look: A teen girl scrolls through her Instagram feed. She sees a photo of a peer who looks particularly good. Never mind that this friend has probably edited and filtered the photo, or that this friend likely selected the image from dozens of carefully staged shots. Our teen girl sees this photo, compares herself to it, and immediately feels that she’s falling short in the looks department. The more this girl is prone to self-critical perfectionism, the more likely it is that this comparison will trigger feelings of depression and poor body image. Comparing yourself to the people you see in social media images is a bad idea in general, but even more so if you tend toward this type of perfectionism.
Regardless of where you fall on the perfectionism continuum, why not take a social media break and see what happens to your mental health? Without that highly curated stream of images to compare yourself to, you might find yourself feeling a lot less self-doubt. As the saying goes, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Reclaim some of your joy by stepping away from social media feeds and cutting down on the opportunities for these types of comparisons.
Why do people post their fake life?
Comparison makes you unhappy
Getting likes can be addict-able.
According to Dar Meshi, a neuroscientist at Michigan State University, was the first person to examine people who use social media using an MRI scan. The brain scan showed which brain regions are active when we post or like something or when someone likes our posts.
When the like notification appeared, the brain's reward system was active. This region is called the ventral striatum. It's also active when we're presented with food, drinks, sex and money — and during drug consumption, and that is actually good thing.
Meshi explains this by saying that our status in the group is very important to us and that we want to be liked by others.
The researchers suspected that the passive users would constantly compare their real lives with the seemingly perfect lives of others without getting any likes themselves.
Comparison makes people unhappy.
Showing numbers accelerates people to post something better
Number of followers, Likes, friends, and shares. Those are critical factors that you compare you with others, which will be always shown on social media.
And that makes people post something better and better, and people start to fake their lives or share something ideal does not exist.
weBelong: Building new social media
The victims in these social media are always minorities. Minorities face a variety of differences, some visible and some invisible. They are discriminated against and their differences have become barriers to fitting into society. I thought that if people could stop comparing, they would stop worrying about having differences.
New Social media
weBelong is trying to reinvent social media. We are trying to become a social network where the goal is not to get likes, but to help others, to interact and discover new things.
weBelong is a social media where likes are not visible
On weBelong, you cannot see the likes that other people have received. You can't see the upvotes (we have traits endorsement function.) that other people have received.
You can only see what you have received. We believe that without the ability to make comparisons, people can stop the vain competition and focus on being themselves.
weBelong is social media that does not manipulate content
weBelong's content is ordered by the date was created and updated. Social media such as Tiktok, SnapChat, and Instagram are brainwashing devices and content is manipulated.
In fact, Twitter is sometimes used as a brainwashing device by terrorists, and the manipulation of social media and voting behavior in Cambridge Analytica in election campaigns is well known done on Facebook.
So, weBelong does not show you posts you like. All posts are seen equally and there is no such thing as being seen more just because you get a lot of likes. And without brainwashing you will see many differences. You will become aware that there are many different people in the world, with many different ideas. Content manipulation is dangerous because it attracts only people who are highly homogeneous with you and makes them think that only their own ideas are right (while the reality is that people prefer it because it is more comfortable). So, weBelong is a social media for people who don't want to be brainwashed.
What is weBelong
In the future, weBelong would like to develop features that are fun to use with your friends and your friends of friends, and also how to discover new things and enrich your life.
The purpose of weBelong is to create a social system where differences can thrive, and this has not changed since the company was founded.
The more we see our differences, the more we come to understand our differences with others, and the more we understand our differences with others, the more we can achieve an inclusive society.
Internet used to be a life boat for people who had no place in society, but after social media emerged, social media became a place for majority who more widely used as a way to boost the existence of the real world.
The world is changing. weBelong is a space where all of them celebrate their differences. weBelong is for differences.
Be the part of change instead of being in the flow of majority.
We have different skin colors, different abilities, different strengths, and different weaknesses. We have different points of view, different religions, and different sexual orientations.
Our differences make us who we are. Everyone is different and those differences enrich communities' diversities. On weBelong, no matter who you are, you are valid.
When we know how we’re different, and feel comfortable with those differences, we can then start to see our similarities and find even more common ground.
We want people to see, understand, and appreciate for who we are.
We want to celebrate who we are from our gender, sexual orientation heritage, culture and religion.
Pride🏳️🌈Black Lives Matter✊🏿