I often get asked, “what is the vision of TapeReal?”
In the beginning, I did not know how to answer this question. I simply felt and understood it. TapeReal always had a deeper purpose, one that was more meaningful and beyond my self or anything I could articulate. I was grappling with this question for quite some time and recently had an epiphany about TapeReal’s vision and what it’s all about:
TapeReal is about connection. TapeReal is a social network where humans come to connect. Where everyone can have a voice and be heard. Our mission and purpose is to ‘re-establish’ human connection in a digital World.
I say ‘re-establish’ because for more than a decade, traditional social media platforms have replaced our ‘social’ habits. They have commoditized our attention, our relationships, and changed our way of communication, all in the name of generating ad revenue and ad space for big corporations to target us (fueling the compounding effect of uncontrollable mass consumerism).
On the other hand, social media is still good for it is, which is: "media".
It's great for entertainment, discovering new things, keeping up with news, and simply passing time in groups that interest us.
But social media does not deliver a true social experience nor does it fulfill its promise of connecting us.
Instead, social media has turned into news threads containing text, pictures, links, status updates, and one-way communication.
Did you know that 3.2 billion posts are shared on social media daily?
Social media platforms have inadvertently erected barriers between us. In fact, they prevent us from truly experiencing a "human-to-human" connection.
They encourage the use of image filters, the presentation of a different self, and the irony is, these same platforms promote ‘authenticity’ as a means of generating more followers and likes. How can one be authentic behind filtered images and status updates attempting to garner more likes?
In order to be truly social, in order to help people deepen their connection with other human beings, we need a medium that enables bi-directional communication.
Ever wonder why podcasting has become so popular? It’s because podcasting goes back to the root of getting two people to speak to each other; to discuss a topic they care about. It’s a medium of communication that closely aligns to our innate needs— speaking to each other is what makes us human; speaking to each other is how we connect.
Conversations are bi-directional. Conversations foster dialogue.
Helping humans connect is the heart and soul of TapeReal’s app. We’re building a social network based on authentic conversations, where people can be themselves just the way they are, in every expression of their lives.
It doesn’t matter where you live, what you do, or who you are. TapeReal gives you a platform to be seen and heard. If you have something to say, record with a connection or record solo and post a humanized update for your community to engage with.
Connection is about real communication, heart-to-hearts, and candid conversations.
It’s about sharing knowledge, anecdotes, memories and stories. It’s about collaborating and asking questions to help us understand one another. It’s about dialogue and healthy debates. It’s about having and respecting different opinions and beliefs, yet seeing the World from different perspectives. It’s about expanding our view of the World. It’s about having the patience to listen when someone else is speaking, without being distracted.
TapeReal’s purpose is to re-establish the bond of human connection.
When I was four years old, my grandmother passed away at a very young age. It was the first time I experienced death in my family. Seeing my father’s grief is a memory that’s stuck with me my entire life.
To this day, I’m fascinated by stories about my grandparents and the sacrifices they made to give us the life we enjoy today. I’ve always felt a void in my life without their presence, and I wish there was a way for me to capture what it was like to speak to them, to interact with them, to hear their stories spoken in first-person. I don’t long for pictures to satisfy my memories, I long for the relationship, the connection. It’s a reminder of what I felt. It’s a memory I would forever cherish. It’s how I would keep my grandparents alive in my heart.
TapeReal is like a photo album for our thoughts, authentic memories, and social conversations.
Traditional social media is not ‘social’ but it’s definitely media. The stories we share on Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram are creative expressions of our selves. However, it distracts and prevents us from establishing a human-to-human connection.
As a species, we must be self-aware enough to acknowledge the adverse effects of social media; the vanity, narcissism, envy and jealousy; the addiction and need to somehow fit in and virtually connect with others to bring a false sense of meaning to our lives. The forced polarization of our thoughts by algorithms, the provocative updates and comments we would think twice about before saying it to a person’s face.
It’s easy to hide behind a keyboard and say whatever you want — it makes you less accountable because the other person is not present to bear witness to what you are saying, how you are saying it, and what your intentions may be. This is what makes it easy to troll in online communities. You don’t need to deal with the repercussions of how someone is receiving your message — you’re not accountable to the connection because the immediate feedback-loop is absent.
TapeReal brings accountability back to human connections.
When people think about social media, they immediately think it’s a network where you become the product of advertising. I often get asked if that’s what TapeReal will do. Even venture capitalists I’ve pitched ask the same question. But this is not the path of TapeReal. We’re not here to connect advertisers to humans. We’re here to connect humanity.
We will not let individuals be targeted by ads. This is what makes TapeReal a human-first platform. By supporting each other, we believe we can be self-sufficient without the involvement of people-targeted ads. This is also why TapeReal feels like a grass-roots movement. We’re here to question the status quo, to bring about positive change in the World, to re-connect with one another in meaningful ways; to empathize, help, teach, share, collaborate, and raise our collective consciousness by fusing this new found digital nature with real human nature, and to help future generations do the same.
This is the vision of TapeReal.
TapeReal is about freedom of speech, but it won’t be for everyone. TapeReal will not be a platform for those who incite hate or publish objectionable content. Our community comes first, and we must align ourselves to the mission of creating a safe space for people to network, collaborate, explore, learn and create.
We’ve made taping as easy and natural as picking up the phone and calling a friend — believe it or not, this is how friends, family, and colleagues used to connect — by speaking to each other. This is what being social is all about. And this is the type of network we're building...
Welcome to TapeReal.
My name is Ali Shah and I’m the Founder of TapeReal. I’m building TapeReal out of my garage workshop with a remotely distributed team from around the World. I have self-funded this project to date. If this manifesto resonated with you, or if you have any comments or feedback, please connect and speak to me on TapeReal. To support the movement, please download TapeReal on the App Store for iPhone or iPad here:
(We are not on Android yet, but you can sign-up for our Android wait list).
For all other inquiries, please email: info @ tapereal.com
PS: My username on TapeReal is @ali — once we follow each other, we can record tapes together. I look forward to connecting with you, and thank you for reading TapeReal’s Manifesto.