A very Happy New Year to you! I wish you all the best for 2020 and I hope our new decade brings you health, wealth and happiness.

As we head into this new decade, I’d like to give you an idea of what we’re thinking and planning here at Disciple.

The 2010s were defined by centralisation. Platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are centralised social platforms, Google is a centralised search platform, and Amazon is a centralised e-commerce platform.

The handful of companies that became dominant in this world of centralisation have dominated the decade.

At Disciple, we believe the 2020s will be defined by decentralisation, particularly in the world of social media and community.

Social media platforms began the decade as symbols of a brave new world where we could all connect with each other and where every citizen of the world could be heard.

Today, the story is very different. Social media has lost the trust of not only citizens, but also brands and creators. Citizens are mined for their data and fed an endless stream of fake news and toxicity. Brands and creators are charged ever-higher fees to reach their own community and are drowned out by noise.

As we enter the third decade of the third millennium, social media has fractured the world, not connected it. However, if we look past the dystopic story of social media V1, we can see that online social networks have become vitally important for both citizens and brands and for society as a whole.

We all want to connect online, and the 2010s taught us how to. We just want to be able to connect in smaller communities that can truly reflect our own needs and interests.

At Disciple, we passionately believe that in the coming years the networks that creators, brands and institutions own will define their value.

The community hosts who will flourish are those who can bring citizens together around shared passions, allow them to connect with each other and establish a deep level of trust with their members.

Our mission is to create the tools that will allow you to build your own networks – networks that create value for you as the host, and places of trust and belonging for the members whose lives you enrich.

We launched our service in 2018 and really got going in 2019. Today, we have hundreds of communities building amazing communities with Disciple: yoga training schools, farming collectives in New Zealand, mentoring programmes and global rock stars.

The list goes on, but all are our hosts are united by a passionate belief in building thriving communities for their members that deliver a sense of purpose and belonging.

This year, our product will be seeing huge changes, many of which we began building in early 2019. The core principles behind these product enhancements are:

  • Make your community available everywhere. The first version of our web product will be released in the first few months of 2020 to work alongside our iOS and Android apps. This will be a progressive web app that gives your members an amazing experience on either desktop or mobile. No longer will you have to have a binary relationship with your members – to be installed or not to be!
  • Make managing and building your community easier. In early 2020, a new version of our host hub will be released to give you a more intuitive community management experience, deeper tools to understand your members and more features to help you make your community thrive.
  • Let hosts learn from each other. We finally have a head of community at Disciple. Her purpose here is to create an amazing community where all our hosts can come together and share learnings. We will be bringing some of the world’s leading experts on community management to the network to offer advice and run webinars. This will also be a great place for you to feedback to us on how to make our service better.
  • Make your community unique. We want you to be able to modify your community platform how and when you want, so it can truly represent your unique community culture and ambitions. In 2020 we will be releasing the tools that enable you to make most changes to your community app from the hub and without the need for an app store update.

Please leave a comment under this post and let me know what you think about the future of social media and community.

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