A social networking website dedicated to help individuals going through a hard time, from alcohol abuse, breakups, grief, relationship, discrimination, teen pregnancy, suicidal thoughts etc. Individuals will consult each other on such subjects they are going through and help each other get over the problem by relating to each other and share the steps one took to over come the problem. You can visit the site to read articles, blogs and advice on topics. It includes features such as Journals -Create and edit your own journal posts and follow and comment on other users posts includes an option to publish the post. Answers -Post questions on any of several categories and respond to questions from other users Groups -Find topics that interest you whether related to the same problem you have or not and join groups to participate in the discussion
I built Canada's first (and one of the world's first) crowdfunding websites that attracted over 115,000 members without any paid customer acquisition and distributed over $3m to charities so I can certainly attest to the fact that sites that focus on creating positive outcomes are attractive to many people.
There are however, several challenges to executing your idea well. Some of them are:
Can it be truly helpful? Just like this site (Clarity), the challenge is for the answers to be genuinely helpful to the person in need. Giving bad advice or allowing negative commentary could be incredibly damaging to the psyche and overall well-being of your community. The potential cost associated with vetting the people able to provide help could be a significant barrier.
Anonymity: I have built several applications that allow for anonymous messaging and have learned that people are reluctant to trust the promise of anonymity, so there are product challenges to getting the people to post sensitive information. These can be overcome but they are not without significant challenges.
Peer Support is challenging: Providing users an open-ended mechanism who are going through something the ability to offer suggestions to others *sounds* like a good idea, but again, can be very damaging. Extensive moderation would likely be required.
The best (i.e. potentially most helpful) service I've seen so far is a text-messaging based service for teens in crisis. Here's an article to it: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/health-headlines/crisis-hotline-operators-reaching-out-to-teens-1-text-at-a-time-1.1217225
I think if you're going to build something, it should be mobile and figure out a way to sustain the business or service that supports paid staff or at the very least trained and vetted staff to be primarily responsible for helping individuals in need.
Happy to talk this through with you if you are (or when you become) serious about pursuing this idea.
The challenge with these kind of issues is that they are not ones people like to share. A social network requires profiles to be public & discoverable or people can't network.
I do think a site that people can privately create a profile, and reach out to curated experts, doctors, etc would be a great resource, but that being said - their are a few sites doing this in the health space (ex: http://healthtap.com).
Build a social support network will be tough, and the hard things to solve will be the social part (ex: do you require profiles to use real identities? are these profile indexed by google?, etc).
Hope that helps a bit.
I think the idea is fantastic, but you haven't addressed if you are solving a problem. Specifically, is this a problem isn't already being solved elsewhere? Is there a group of people for whom the existing solutions are inadequate?
The solution you are describing could work, but I think you need to understand what gap you are filling before you test specific parts of the solution.
Please check out another startup that is targeting the same problem:
Y Combinator Startup 7 Cups Of Tea Connects People In Need Of Emotional Support With Trained Listeners