The internet is a wonderful and powerful tool, capable of being used for both good and evil. At inception it was used mostly for data transfer for business and intelligence purposes, but soon it's true power was unveiled as it became readily available for consumers, and from there a myriad of new uses were discovered and invented that have changed the way we look at the world and how we interact with our fellow human beings. One can look far and wide for the internet's true purpose but deep down we all know that the one of the internet's greatest powers is the ability it gives us to spy on other people we find sexually attractive. Really it can be anyone at all, sexual attraction or no, but regardless, we have the power to learn anything from trivia to crippling private information about those around us.
My app, presently code named 14-J, is an all-purpose dating network, investigation tool, data aggregator, social network, GPS locator, and sexual predator identifier. The details of how 14-J works are very scientific and long-winded, but suffice it to say it runs a series of data aggregation tools to locate as much information on a specific person as possible, including searches of all major social media sites and search engines, news sites, dating networks, reverse image search engines, and public criminal profiles such as the national sex offender registry. With this data the app composites a personality profile of the person in question for the user to peruse. An additional feature would allow users to log comments on existing personality profiles after meeting them, with up and down votes, hotness ratings, and descriptions of their experiences with that person. Also, people would be able to use the app as a dating service and send messages back and forth to those users with GPS activated in their phones, and even locate them on a map to see if anyone near them is open to meeting.
The risks of using this app are obvious and great, but users' curiosity to know what they can find on those they are interested in would (as we know through rigorous demographic studies and market testing) overpower their fears of the repercussions.
1) The challenge is clear, finding a way to convince users that the app is more beneficial than dangerous, and overcoming issues of privacy and the ability for the app to be used by anyone from stalkers and predators to government bodies looking to compile information on persons of interest.
2) The target audience is really lonely and insecure people, most likely technology savvy and younger, but really this app could be used by people of all walks of life, including lawyers, police officers, people going through divorce, highschoolers looking for a date, 20-somethings currently meeting people in bars and not wanting to waste time or take a chance with a potential date rapist, and those looking for causal hook-ups.
3) The audience is both skeptical of this type of technology but also proceeds to use it any chance they get. The technology is kind of a dirty little secret that everyone uses but nobody wants to publicly support. We already go to Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so forth to find details on new people in our lives or to keep up with those we already know, but this app will take a lot of the legwork out of this and work as a single source for all relevant information, and will be available in a user's pocket, at a bar, a party, or in a court room.
4) The target audience would ideally feel a little bit dirty about using a product like 14-J, it is thrilling, it's something we don't want to admit but that we compulsively return to more and more. 14-J would be the topic of conversation, for instance, in an adult forum, or on talk shows being used as an example of the evils of social technology. It would be like a tattoo in a private location, it's something you don't flaunt, but it makes you feel good to know it's there. Ultimately it would be to our advantage if users of 14-J defended it and felt that the invasion of their own privacy was worth the ability to learn more about others, and that they know it may be wrong on a certain ethical level, but that it makes them feel better overall, both in terms of their safety, and as a secret weapon.
5) Seeing 14-J used in TV shows in clever, delightfully scandalous and even life-saving or heroic ways will definitely help open peoples' minds to the use of the product. Celebrity endorsements are also a good inroad to public acceptance, especially if these endorsements are under the radar, such as tabloid mentions of celebrities caught using the app at clubs. If the app were to be used by law enforcement, this could add to public acceptance as people interested in security, para-military hobbyists, and so forth would flock to the product for it's use in defense and social strategy.
6) The brand essence is a feeling of taboo and of advantage in the social arena. Code 14-J, though currently a working title, is a great example as users could identify their use of the app in a secretive way that, until wider public acceptance and notoriety, would help the savvy keep their use of the product hidden to outsiders, while also creating a titillating intrigue to the uninitiated. As mentioned previously, having the ability to dig up information on any person you meet at the push of a button would empower users in social situations and give them the feeling that they have a secret advantage.
7) As stated above, the key emotion in building a relationship with the audience is the feeling of having a secret weapon.
8) Social media, TV, and print, especially tabloids, will be the best media to help give the product it's identity and to intrigue the target audience into giving it a try.
9) The most critical element of the product is it's search and data aggregation engine, which serves as the core of the apps function. Beyond that, the social networking element which allows users to ascribe comments and ratings to existing identified personalities would be the second most critical element as it allows users to interact with the app and with the community using it by contributing to its effectiveness. Features such as the GPS locator are mostly for fun but can also serve key roles, for instance, if those identified as predators and sex offenders are always tagged so they can be avoided.
10) The single most important takeaway is that users never have to go into another social situation blindly, and that 14-J has their back and will be their secret weapon.
11) We want the audience to change the way they think about privacy to the point where they feel it's better to know everything and also be known than to know nothing and also be unknown.