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| Dating and Networking

02/28/14

Heart of gold: We Heart It weighs in on social media and scores big

Social media sends plenty of mixed messages.
We Heart It doesn't have that problem. The social media site seems pretty direct with its mission, mentality and overall ideology that stays true to its namesake: expression, positivity and sharing uplifting messages through photos, the kind of artwork that asks a simple question: Who do you want to inspire today?
If you ask We Heart It, the answer isn't difficult. Anyone you want, yourself included. The premise of We Heart It isn't hard to follow. As a member and user of We Heart It, you can gather and post images and share favorites with friends or create sets of pictures.
So how exactly did We Heart It start changing the world one photo at a time?
"We Heart It was created in late 2007 by Fabio Giolito; as a designer and web developer, he created the service for his own personal use to save and organize inspirational images he found on the web," said Ranah Edelin, CEO of We Heart it. "He started by developing the basic functionality and inviting friends to join, and it immediately took off."

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When you take a closer look at We Heart It, the effect it's had by not only garnering millions of users worldwide but also how it transcends traditional social media is remarkable. Of course, it's hard to not at least recognize the kind of volume in the way of users the site generates.
More than one million new members find We Heart It on a monthly basis, and more than 20 million use the social media site all told.
The numbers certainly rank as impressive, and a closer look at how the web site is designed and, more importantly, feels truly showcases why it isn't comparable to any other social media outlet in the world. We Heart It exudes a sense of empowerment, underscored with a strong feeling of optimism and constructive thinking. In a day and age when social media can spiral wildly out of control with negativity or too many users complaining, griping or sending a message that centers on what's wrong, We Heart It focuses on what's right.
That sentiment is especially potent and palpable with a younger audience, specifically the ages of 24 and younger. That demographic still is searching for an identity and is highly impressionable. Thankfully, 80% of the users of We Heart It fall in that age bracket.
Attracting that particular age group, coupled with the content of We Heart It, makes the site more about possibility and poise for our future generation, rather than angst and anger.
"We Heart It is a personal representation of the true 'you,' " Edelin says. "We Heart It is about beautiful images that inspire, that can be gathered from any source and which you can then 'heart' to save the image to your profile," he continued.
In conjunction with an overwhelming sense of purpose put forth by We Heart it, the site encourages you to emote how you're feeling, minus the commentary that typically follows the prototype of most social media sites.
"One other thing that differentiates the platforms, is that there is no commenting on We Heart It, making the service a more positive, anti bully platform allowing users to be more authentic," Edelin said.
A major drawback of social media at any age is not so much the idea of standing firmly on your proverbial "soap box" and telling the world how you feel, but rather the potential repercussions that follow suit, most of which can border on bullying, hate or criticism as a result of describing how you're feeling about a particular subject.
The relatively free forum that is social media often cascades into back and forth banter that runs the gamut between inane or irrational to responsible and relevant. We Heart It clearly resides at the latter end of the social media spectrum.
"We think it's very important for people at any age to be able to express themselves without fear of criticism from others," Edelin explains. "Our users tell us that the tone of We Heart It is a lot more positive and supportive than other online communities."
For We Heart It, the approach is two fold.
"Part of that has to do with the norms of our community; a new member to the community (of We Heart It) can quickly see that beautiful, inspiring and expressive image do best on our service," Edelin says. "The other part is has to do with the fact that comments aren't allowed on our service, resulting in people only taking positive actions toward each other."
In short, We Heart It is visual expression without the typical back and forth tantrums and tenuous rhetoric that can define social media sites.
You have to love that We Heart It marches to its own beat, refusing to be just another social media site. Those responsible for putting together this site proved undoubtedly that they have their finger on the pulse of what social media ultimately should be.
In turn, user of the site have shown We Heart It some much deserved love and respect for changing the landscape of social media for the better.

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