Although described as a novel approach to social discovery, at a more careful analysis, TipTap is a Pinterest clone. Whether “the Harvard and Yale educated scientists and the youthful band of coders” behind this startup intended things this way, or not, no one can deny the similarities.
We are dealing with a similar logo, a similar drag-and-drop bookmarklet to share images, and the exact same way to comment, share and reshare. What sets TipTap apart is the presence of a few quizzes that allegedly create better user profiles and help users understand themselves and connect with others like them.
How many social networks use a psychological approach to help users to match users and interests? Unless they aren’t online dating communities, not many social networks attempt to match users’ personalities, styles and tastes.
Most social networks that do deliver “personality” matches are tracking user behavior – an approach that doesn’t consider user privacy criteria. Cambridge, Massachusetts-based TipTap wants to change this, building upon more than sixty years of research in cognitive and personality psychology.
“Rather than the brute-force approach that is currently employed in which more data is indiscriminately fed into existing systems, we decided to re-evaluate what the best and most efficient information for personalization is, and in doing so we have created a revolutionary new way to understand people online without having to violate their privacy,” explained TipTap scientist Kyle Thomas.
Basically, according to a recent TipTap press release, users have to first fill in some quizzes that directly tap into dimensions of personality, taste, and style to help users understand themselves and connect with others like them. Each quiz then contributes to the generation of a predictive personal profile, which allows TipTap to customize each user’s experience.
Additionally, users are free to expand their networks of trusted individuals, beyond their current social networks of friends and family, by connecting with people that have similar personalities, tastes, preferences and interests.
Still in private beta, TipTap is nevertheless easy to join – it took me less than 30 seconds to access what’s behind the closed doors. Then the quizzes – fun and easy to take – revealed a whole community of “like-minded” people. But the surprise came in a part of the site called “taps” that has the same purpose and functionality of Pinterest.
Once you get over the quizzes, even the “tap” categories are identical with Pinterest. No matter what “science” is behind matching users with other users, TipTap is not an original endeavor. This begs the question: will it be successful?