‘Roust’ your friends to the latest social network

The social network for connecting with others to discuss tough topics like politics, religion and social matters.

Roust is a social network where people can connect with friends to discuss controversial topics such as politics, policy, religion and social issues. It’s a fresh start for people who want to discuss topics that can elicit an adverse reaction from the larger circles of friends on Facebook.

Religion and politics: You just don’t discuss them at the dinner table. But even the most polarizing opinions have become fair game on Facebook, and that’s why Mark LaFay thinks the world needs his new social media platform, 

Launching in beta sometime this October, Roust is designed to funnel impolite conversation away from the world’s most popular social network, and push it toward a new safe haven for disagreement and debate. Indeed, if Roust gains momentum, it could turn into a social media Thunderdome—but with threaded conversations and hashtags instead of battling gladiators hanging from big rubber bands.

What are the most important features of Roust?

Most people have a diverse set of connections on sites such as Facebook. Think about it, you are likely connected to family, friends, school acquaintances, brands, employees, employers, customers, etc. It’s no wonder that during the 2008 presidential election 78% of facebook users either unfriended or considered unfriending someone. Roust is a fresh start for people who are interested in having discussions on controversial topics such as politics, religion, and various social issues.

Roust is private platform. You can request to connect to someone but unless the other party approves it, you won’t be able to connect and see their information. You can, however, post content to the public feed so that you get into discussions with people who you are not connected to. Our goal was to create a space where people felt a little more at home having discussions that might create a firestorm elsewhere. This connection method also deals with the issue of trolling. You control who can engage with you.

Another key differentiator for Roust is that we’ve created a better experience for connecting to friends, finding new friends and having discussions online. We spent a ton of time working on user experience (UX). We’ve allowed UX to be an ongoing process as we’ve been developing the platform and are inviting users into the process as well. Our goal was to create the most user-friendly online community and we think we’ve done that.

Real discussions are rarely linear journeys from thought “a” to conclusion “b” there are usually other related topics that might peak their way into the conversation thread. Our platform is designed to allow these tangential discussions to occur. At the same time, it curates them so that the original train of thought isn’t derailed. The early feedback on our discussion module has been so positive that we’ve actually considered breaking it off to be used as a commenting engine for the web.

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