Yesterday, we saw the launch of a new kind of social network which wants to solely focus on creative collaboration. We knew that Shekhar Kapur and A.R Rahman’s Qyuki was coming. We had written about Cisco acquiring a 17% stake in the startup earlier this year in February. Qyuki is now live and I signed up to check it out and see if it will make a dent in the Indian creative universe.
Qyuki is a social network at its heart and has borrowed some design metaphors and functionality from services like Pinterest. You can see this in the stacking of ‘creations’ shown below. The website is fast and signing up is easy. There is also a guide which helps first time users to get acquainted with the service. Once you sign up, you see a video from the founders who speak about their motivations behind starting this service. They also speak about creativity and imagination and stress upon the fact that Indians need to imagine more. The whole purpose of Qyuki thus fostering creativity and stimulating people to embrace their inner creative self. Qyuki seems to be aimed at everyone out there, but I see a lot of creative types like writers, artists and musicians using the service.
How does the social network plan to stimulate creativity?
To understand this, we need to look at Qyuki’s features.
The website is divided into 3 different segments – Creations, Community and Inspirations.
Using this section of the website you can upload any creative project that you have been working on. Video, Images, Text and Audio uploads are allowed and all this uploads are transferred to your creative portfolio on the service. The innovative thing about creations in the ‘emotag’ feature which lets you attach a very specific emotion with the creations that you are uploading. Since creativity spans a vast universe of things, the categories span across Film Making, Visual Arts, Music, Writing, Performing Arts, Design and Crafts. Once you have uploaded a creation, tagged and categorized it, you can publish or choose to save it as a draft in addition to previewing it.
The creation homepage lets you see all the creations on Qyuki based on two controls – most recent and most popular. Further you can choose to filter what shows up in your homepage by categories, emotions, locations, Community and expert recommendations, thus making sure that you have full control over what you want to see instead of everything being a mishmash of creations.
There is also something called Qyuki Premiere within this section. This is basically a section where Qyuki users will get to see exclusive videos and content from established content makers. Currently, this section has Shekhar Kapur’s Warlord and AnimalOcity and A.R Rahman’s exploration in music which is called Melange.
The community section has all the people on Qyuki and they are sorted using categories that we mentioned before. You can also check out people by using the most recent and most popular filter. Since this is a social network, everyone gets a profile. This is how the community section looks.
Each individual profile looks like this.
Every person can follow or be followed by other people on Qyuki. Visitors to your profile will also get to see your creations, your inspirations and personal information. You can choose how much information you want to show to visitors. There is also a ‘twitter verified button’ sorta thing for established creative people which is called Handpicked. This shows up on the profiles of those who have been handpicked by the service.
There is a private messaging feature on the website but it looks like it is broken. I got this error page when I tried to message Chetan Bhagat This problem is not isolated and I saw this error across many profiles.
Frankly, this is the most interesting part of the website. Inspirations are ideas and concept floated by the panel of experts on Qyuki where are the user on the service can take part. It works like this. An expert or Qyuki might put up a story theme and also provide rules (eg. less than 300 words). Participants can then submit their creatives pertaining to this theme.
There are a panel of experts on Qyuki who will curate interesting things on the service. Currently, the expert panel consists of Chetan Bhagat, Imtiaz Ali, Ranjit Barot and Suresh Natarajan. These people will be going through your contributions on the inspiration page and hand-picking stuff they like, thus making you and your creation visible all over the network.
Since it has just been launched, it will be sometime before the creative collaboration between people begins in earnest. There are some very good ideas which Qyuki has but the execution in terms of website design and user experience seem to be lacking a bit. The greater goals of the Qyuki project are indeed awesome and I believe in the work they are doing. User Generated content is the key to engagement and discovery of talented people. This service will definitely aid in that. Qyuki has the potential to become the go-to site for creative people in India and thus the startup needs to focus more on its community section, because I see that driving the whole thing forward. The platform is also an excellent place for brands to come up with some really creative content and show it to people. Certain brands are targeted to a niche and this network can be the perfect place for brands to explore the creative side of their marketing and advertising efforts. The social network can also be a big place for recruiting creative people. The possibilities are endless.
Website | Qyuki