Imagine a ship with sails depicting the logos of all the major social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat. Now imagine that ship on fire and sinking. A little bit satisfying, isn’t it?

Last year, Kevin Roose wrote an article in the NY Times questioning whether or not social media can be saved. The article had a graphic of that sinking ship, moving flames and all.

Maybe you’ve thought about what would happen if that did actually happen. Metaphorically, at least. What if everyone stopped using social media? We all know that’s not going to happen. We’re all hopelessly addicted, even if we don’t want to admit it.

So, a year later, does it still look like social media can be saved? Roose seemed to think so. In fact, he offered several concrete ways to rescue social media. One of the main problems, he said, was that social media is left in the hands of big corporations whose job it is to make money, which means that the platforms serve these corporations more than they serve their users.

One of the solutions he suggests is to decentralize social networks so that specialized apps work together instead and users can tailor their social media experience rather than have it be dictated by a one-size-fits-all deal.

There’s a downside to that kind of fragmentation, though. We’re already overwhelmed by all of the social media apps out there. Do we really want more choice in how to post our content?

The ‘make it what you want it to be’ kind of approach can work in the completely opposite scenario, too. uSync, a new platform that’s seeking to put meaning back into social media, allows users all of the capabilities you could possibly imagine, all in one place.

“Developing a medium that’s simple to use and seamless across many functions is a good place to start,” uSync’s CEO Darrell Lynn says. “We’ve worked for many years to create an environment that mirrors the majority of today’s communication needs. The importance of having a global social communication system for today’s generation can’t be underestimated. But delivery of such a system isn’t easy. It’s has to be powerful, seamless and simple to use.”

Part of that seamlessness starts with uSync’s aesthetic. It’s clean and uniform, which might sound like it would be stifling for creative expression. It’s not. Let’s be honest: most people aren’t great designers, nor do they necessary want to be. It also reinforces the community aspect of uSync: everyone’s content looks the same but it looks good. Plus, there’s always room to customize if you want.

uSync’s other great advantage is it’s beginnings in the non-profit sector.“Our original plan was to build things that students could use for for both learning and connections” Lynn says, “We decided to do focus on three things. We wanted to 1) Produce work that would advance humanity forward; 2) build a state–of–the art platform that would hold anything put inside it and 3) create amazing apps that we all wanted to use for ourselves. We haven’t strayed or looked back since.”

This work took over two years to engineer with a small talented team of engineers and designers. The traditional “post” mentality of social networks was discarded. Complex strategies involving user rights to content had to be designed to work with small memory footprints that you find on smartphones. Database architecture had to be reworked continuously as features were added to reduce queries and stay within mobile device limits. Meanwhile design considerations were constantly reworked in order to simplify while adding greater functionality. This is an ongoing process but with each iteration, every part of the system has to be compatible with each other and allow for future decisions and scale. It’s an enormous task for a small team but makes for satisfying work.

In the New York Times article,  Roose also suggests that social media should have a mandatory ‘start over’ button. This would erase all content that a user has created. If you’re forced to start over, you’re more likely to really think about weeding out what’s no longer serving you. This is a challenge because social media is all about posts. Posts, once made, are out there. Too late. Gone.

Although uSync doesn’t have that ‘start over’ button, it solves for runaway content. Because we always are creatures that would like to ‘start over’, uSync made this possible at a more granular level. You decide what gets shared. You even have the option of having it viewed on the Internet without someone having to signin to uSync. If you decide to delete something, it will disappear. If you change it, it happens  immediately. You don’t have to worry about your content getting away from you.

Can social media be saved? Yes, and it will be. What Roose suggests is not only possible but, thanks to uSync’s work, is now coming true.

DM me and let me know what you think.