Ah Facebook. You’ve turned mum into a serial over-sharer, the boss into a persistent poker, and Mark Zuckerberg keeps pimping your private deets from atop of his 18 carat Captain Kirk replica chair.
But still, you heart social media and all the lolz it brings. So what’s the alternative? Maybe, just maybe, it’s new Aussie start-up Family HQ.
Keeping it in the family
Family HQ is a private social network. With your personal information kept secret squirrel from strangers, you (and your mum) can communicate more openly.
In fact, Family HQ is so darn private nobody can search for you and the only way to connect is through invitation.
The brainchild of hubby and wife dynamic duo, Jase and Brooke Farmer, Family HQ takes the best bits of social networking, while keeping privacy and security front and centre.
CEO Jase bills it as “Australia’s only site that enables the ability to create unlimited numbers of groups that remain private from each other, creating a solution for the complicated nature of how we communicate with people in our lives.”
“With the combination of privacy and the need for a communication tool that highlights this important feature, Family HQ leaves no ‘digital footprint’ of your information on the internet.”
“The site allows users to keep their identity, as well as who they are connected with, completely private as there is no search facility for strangers or other unwanted users to seek you out.”
And unlike other social networking behemoths, you won’t find Family HQ profiling its users for advertiser bucks.
“We do not sell any info to third parties or advertisers as we believe that it should be up to the advertiser to provide quality and engaging content for our users.”
“The advertisers that you will see on this site are family friendly, this is really important to us to maintain a family friendly environment.”
So how did Family HQ come about?
With large extended families on both sides of the tree the Farmers found, when they started their own family, they were reluctant to share information about their kids via public networks.
With a background in digital media, the couple set about creating their own site purely for people they wanted to access the information and view the photos.
When several friends asked them to replicate the idea, they realised they were on to something, and began to develop a commercial service with the online safety of children paramount.
“The lure of sites such as Facebook is very difficult for a child to resist and the consequences of an inexperienced or naïve person sharing private information with the world are equally as hard to predict,” Jase says.
“The public nature of the interaction and therefore exposure of information pose a very real threat to children and online predators have been known to use information gleaned from a profile in order to gain friendships and make connections.”
“People should be able to feel comfortable to openly share and communicate with their private network of people within their everyday life without the fear of prying eyes watching their every post or upload.”
“Broadcasting a message to the public definitely has an important function in the world but equally as important is communication and networking with people that you already know, that is the space that we are providing with Family HQ and the privacy brings a freedom to share what you want without worrying about that information being scrutinised in public.”
Family HQ’s plans for the future
The Farmers had high hopes for the launch of Family HQ, but even they have been surprised by just how well the network has been received.
“People are using this site for a range of reasons such as keeping in touch with family who are away on work, who live on the other side of the world or even just down the road and using it to coordinate their lives they share together,” Jase says.
“We have also had people write to us to let us know that they are closing down their other social media accounts and will be just using Family HQ – this is not what we were expecting.”
“Our initial assumption was that people would use Family HQ for different reasons to the public social networks so that was surprising to us.”
Family HQ head of development and design, Brooke, says: “Moving forward, we are looking to add additional features to the site including online group video chat, a family tree function and family health management.”