Westerfield: Could new social media platform Flippie be ‘bigger, better and much smarter than Facebook’?
Suffolk’s answer to Mark Zuckerberg is preparing to take social media by storm.
Kieran Roper, a 29-year-old entrepreneur from Westerfield, has designed a new website which promises to be “bigger, better and much smarter than Facebook”.
He already has hundreds of people signing up to the platform, which will be officially launched next year and piloted in Suffolk before it is wheeled out worldwide.
He said: “Human interaction is all about your present locality – what’s happening right now, on your doorstep. It’s about being able to find, access and connect with people, whether they are your friends and neighbours or potential employers.
“Right now we have Facebook for friends, LinkedIn for business, Skype for video calling and Twitter for mindless chatter. My site will do all those things and more.”
Kieran, who was granted funding from the Princes Trust for another of his inventions – a type of golf caddy – when he was just 18, has already secured investment for the first phase of his current project.
He has now employed a team of web experts from Suffolk-based Creative Intent to help build and fine-tune his website – which he has called Flippie.
It aims to offer users the ability to seamlessly flip from a work to play mode on a single screen, allowing them to keep photographs and friend groups private while allowing them access to job adverts, build CVs, reach potential employers and engage in business-orientated chat.
It also promises to incorporate video chat and conference-calling facilities to allow recruiters to interview potential employees on the spot and access a pool of talent in their local area. Kieran came up with the idea when he was studying for a degree in interior design and architecture at the University of Bournemouth.
“I took a placement year in Miami and filled my Facebook feed with pictures of me having fun,” he said.
“Then I realised I didn’t want to give off the wrong impression to prospective employers – all of which check out Facebook and Twitter accounts these days before considering hiring someone.
“I saw a gap there for a site where you could speak to people instantly but in different capacities simply by flicking the mode from play to work and back again.”
Kieran’s friends and family regularly compare him to Mark Zuckerberg, the computer programmer who built the multi-billion pound platform Facebook in 2004.
But he said that aside from being an “ideas man who dreams big”, he has little else in common with the founder of the largest social networking site in the world. “I would say I was less of a computer geek than Mark,” he said.
“I am coming at this from the angle of everyday user.
“I know what I need from an online presence and I know what will work. I also know this will form a superb network for recruiters who will be able to find employees quickly and effectively in their local area.”
Paul Mayne, director of Creative Intent, who is charged with building Flippie, said the site had the potential to “change the face of social media”.
“Kieran has come up with a superb idea and we are turning it into a reality,” he said.
“When Facebook started at American university Harvard, nobody had any idea that a few years later it would have one billion users worldwide.
“Suffolk is about to become the starting point for something which could easily take off in the same way and that is incredibly exciting.”
For more information visit www.flippie.com.