By Megan Sayles
AFRO Business Writer, Report for America Corps Member
If you scroll through the comment sections on social media platforms, there is no doubt you will find a plethora of negative and hateful remarks. You may even be wary of commenting or posting on social media because of the backlash you could receive.
Relevnt, a group messaging app centered around live audio-chat communities, aims to supply a space where people can connect and engage with each other in a more positive way.
“The current legacy of the social world of posts and comments has gotten so toxic,” said Winder Hughes, founder and CEO of Relevnt. “It’s time for a change. We want to be [a platform] that you actually enjoy.”
The application is designed to serve as the interface for not only interest-based media but also for users’ daily communication needs, according to Hughes. Chat communities on Relevnt can be public or private, and they are referred to as vibes in which users can share pictures, videos and links in addition to audio messages. Users can discover vibes locally or globally, making it easy to meet and converse with new people wherever they travel to. The platform’s vibe streams offer live audio-chats that can be archived and published just like a podcast, which allows Relevnt to stand out from competitors like Clubhouse.
Relevnt also offers curated vibe collections, including Fanatics for sports fans and Weedapedia for cannabis-related content. Its Uplyft collection provides a portal to a series of Black-themed vibes across the country to empower the Black community.
“Folks need a place to talk,” said Hughes. “I mean you read about stuff or you see things in the street, but where can they have a civil conversation online that’s relevant and uplifting?”
Some of the chat communities that comprise Uplyft are Eat Up, which promotes Black-owned restaurants; Coming Up, which showcases up-and-coming Black creators and artists; and Speak Up, which focuses on social justice issues.
Relevnt is equipped with content-moderation features to protect users from inappropriate speech. Content can be flagged and reported, and vibes’ hosts can kick users out of the chat if the situation calls for it. Users can also block their counterparts if they do not want to be exposed to their posts. Hughes said because the vibes are topic-based, it steers the conversation in a way that is pertinent to that chosen topic.
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