You can’t be social online if you can’t talk

We launched our beta-version of the friendship app in Denmark summer last year. It really was a beta-version. 

The users could talk with each other by pictures, audio and video messages. They could post on their profile page and they could find new friends based on interests. And that was pretty much it.

But it worked! And the users were very active finding new friends, communicate and posting pictures from their everyday life on their profile page.

During that time we were out presenting the app in many different places; festivals, sports events, activity days, schools and much more.

One day a mother and her son came up to talk to me. The place where the son was living, there were some, how already have joined the app, and she was curious about how the app worked.

I asked if her son should join too. “No” she said and continued “he can’t read and write, and he can’t talk very much so he can’t be social in an app””.

And that is the whole point of the app. Giving a space where you can be social, find new friends how share the same interest as you and communicate with them in a form that suits you – no matter how good or bad you read or write.

We ended up getting her son in the app. She told me, that he was a huge fan of cruise ships. And we made a video with him to his profile-page, where he was smiling and wavering to his new friends.

I sent out a message to all our superusers (superusers are our brand ambassadors who welcome the new users in the app, help them if needed and they also have a moderator role, so they also are one of our safety measures), telling them that this new user really enjoyed  cruise ships, and if they saw any, sent one his way.

And they did. And when they did, they got a video back from him smiling or laughing while making his “happy sound”.

And they did. And when they did, they got a video back from him smiling or laughing while making his “happy sound”.

After a few months I meet his mother again. She told that her son has changed. Changed to a so happier young man. That he was grown so much because he now has friends he has got on his own. Friends that where thinking of him when they saw a cruise ship and took their time to take a picture and sent it to him.

She also told me that he was practiced diligently to be able to say “Thank you” in a way that you as receiver could understand and that he enthusiastically showed her his new friends and the pictures and videos he got them.

For you and me, it may not be great communication. But for this young man, it has meant a world of difference.

And that’s what we’re working on with the friendship app »We are Friends«. Day after day. Giving a voice to those who do not have one, so that they can find new friends to talk to – even if the talk is not in the same way as you and me talking.

Launching in spring 2021

The »We are Friends« App is expected to be launched for IOS and Android in early spring 2021. The App is currently in development but to make it a reality and free of charge for users we are starting a Crowdfunding Campaign on Indiegogo.

We want to give this special audience a voice. We want to give them their life and hope back, to make friends and become less lonely so they have a safe place to go during this crazy pandemic and beyond.

We need your help
As we open our IndieGoGocrowdfunding page, we need your help to bring this app to life, while changing the lives of so many
people with intellectual, developmental and learning disabilities that really need your help to be able to go online, meet new friends and have a much less lonely life.

You can help right away by signing up for our newsletter, and we will send you a very special VIP invitation, our “Better safe than sorry” guide on what to share online, and information on how you can help us.

Just click here to sign up

We can’t wait to welcome you in our community

It all started that day …

It all started that day …

I met Peter.

Peter is developmentally disabled. He lives together with 30 others who also have a developmental disability.

I was so lucky to be invited to visit Peter in his new apartment. When I walked in, it was like I stepped into a big dream of fishing. All the walls were covered with posters of fish,fishing and fishing gear and there were piles of books and magazines all about fish and fishing.

 

Peter told me that he watched all the shows about fishing on TV and that he dreamt of standing on a fishing boat pulling one big fish out of the sea after another.

“I look at all the pictures in my books and magazines and then I dream,” he said and struck out with his arms against the stack of books and continued “I can’t read many words, but I can spell cod”.

 

I asked Peter how often he was on a fishing trip. He answered that he had never been on a fishing boat but that he had been to a lake 4 times.

 

Peter is 40 years old and does not have many friends, and those that he has are not in the least bit interested in fishing. Peter’s best friend is his contact educator. And they have tried to get Peter in some online groups about fishing, but because Peter needs help to read and write. He is dependent on the contact educator to keep the online communication going. But often, there is no time to help Peter with his reading and writing. Communication dies out quickly and Peter is once again without a community around his greatest interest.

 

Peter’s story hurt my heart. The idea of being completely alone and not having someone to share what you are most passionate about, what you dream so strongly about, was almost unbearable.

 

I thought to myself, “We have to do something, so that Peter can go fishing!”

And right there in Peter’s apartment, the idea for the friendship app came up.

Here, Peter could be able to meet others with the same great interest in fishing. It could be in his local area, or it could be from other places in the country. They should communicate with video and audio messages and Peter could also have the opportunity to find out what’s going on in sports, music, events, teaching, etc. in his local area that might be of interest to him

Maybe he could even find a new friend in his local area who also loves fishing. Maybe they could even go fishing together on a fishing boat, pulling one big fish out of the sea after another.

The first interest I wrote on the very first piece of paper about the app was: Fishing.

Free mini-guide: How to be safe sharing video and pictures on social media.

Social media is not an easy ride for everyone.



The “Better safe than sorry” guide for people with intellectual, developmental and learning disabilities and guardians, parents and relatives on what to share on social media.

Our special audience – people with intellectual, developmental and learning disabilities – struggle, because their social skills may be impaired due to their condition. They do not have neither the training nor the knowledge on how to behave on social media and on top of that, they have a hard time deciphering whether others want the best for them or not.

Especially when it comes to sharing text, video and images on the internet and especially on social media, they struggle to assess, if they are doing the right thing.

When I started working with social media for people with developmental disabilities, the phrase I heard the most was:

 

“What if I share something, that is wrong, and I have to go to jail for it?”

 

There are so many rules about what you are allowed to share on social media and what you are not and it can be difficult to know, if you are sharing something you are not allowed to. The rules are not even the same in all countries. Therefore, it can be difficult to behave properly and it all boils down to the fact, that YOU should feel safe online.

Here is our help to you.

The “Better safe than sorry” guide for people with intellectual, developmental and learning disabilities and guardians, parents and relatives on what to share on social media and how to be safe sharing video and pictures on social media.

 

Grab you copy right here.

You will sign up to our newsletter about our upcoming crowdfunding campaign as well 🙂