Vebbler is a new personal network that allows people to have more meaningful conversations with different relationships in their lives without one aspect of their life spilling into another. Founded by a 23-year-old Sahil Bhagat, the service has raked in over 10,000 users in few weeks since it was launched in beta.
According to Sahil, Facebook and other platforms are designed on the "social networking" model, an open platform to connect with a large group of people and acquaintances. An average person has between 1,000 and 1,500 friends, of which only 200 or so may be real and intimate connections. Vebbler believes that the quality of relationships is more important than the quantity of relationships. The service therefore allows a maximum of 500 connections, although a user can follow as many people as he finds interesting.
"Building relationships is not a number game. We strongly believe that as an individual starts adding more and more people, he or she will become more cautious about the type of content they share, and will express themselves less freely. Simply put, imagine a person's comfort level of sharing when he is talking to a few close friends, and now put that same person in front of a large audience to speak," Sahil explainsed.
A core element of Vebbler's user experience is the "Crowd Layering Model". When you connect with people, you cannot just "Add a Friend". You have to add a person into a specific layer, or "Club", whether it be friends, a workmate or even a family member.
This layering in relationships is what makes Vebbler stand out against the obvious comparison benchmark--Facebook--and puts weight behind the service's positioning as a "personal network".
- Chat: The upcoming chat and private messaging is also "layered". So, for example, while sitting in office I may only want to talk to workmates while keeping friends and family offline.
- Tagging: The often abused feature of tagging photos on Facebook gets a little sanity here. Only the owner can choose which people have the right to tag other people. Also, the owner decides to whom those photos can be tagged. This ensures that photos will be secured and only be seen by the people who ought to be seeing it.
- Sharing: Vebbler provides users the ability to 'lock' a particular post. A person can lock a post before he/she shares it, and once selected, another person cannot re-share or repost that content to anybody else. It's private and can only be seen by the intended audience.
While Facebook allows creating lists to filter information that one sees and also to manage privacy, it's not built into the core framework in a way that Vebbler claims to do. It's early days, and a long way ahead, but this Indian-origin social personal network might be interesting to watch out.