The Positive Social Media Platform Showing Trolls the Digital Door


We speak to co-founder Mary Jane Bulesco on how the company managed to make trolling history.

hand pointing the word happy with confetti

Over the past few years, tech heads have attempted to develop increasingly sophisticated algorithms to identify unwanted and abusive messages. What was originally developed to combat spam is now also being used against the negative reach of social media trolls. When it comes to intercepting these abusive messages, machines can do a reasonably good job at spotting the obvious. Ultimately though, online abuse is a human choice. AI can help silence the trolls, but it’s up to us to choose how we treat each other.

That’s where clapit, the ‘happy’ social media app comes in.

“Clapit is inspired by the idea of a digital community clapping, applauding, cheering one another on,” says Mary Jane (MJ) Bulesco, clapit’s co-founder and CMO. “A clap is the most human endorsement, something that comes so natural to us when we want to publicly congratulate or recognise someone.” As well as being algorithm free (yay!), clapit’s goal is to create a positive environment for young users and expose new talent. How did MJ manage it? Like this:


Building it for a specific anti-troll purpose

Abusive online behaviour is obviously a serious challenge in today’s social networks but clapit has been orchestrated well in order to meet it head on. “We are constantly driving the most positive message possible: that you are on clapit to cheer on others and be applauded yourself,” says MJ.

“Of course we also have a team who are constantly on high alert for any unfriendly behaviour and, if an incidence does arise, we take immediate steps to ensure the bullies are not part of the conversation.”

Take that trolls.


Backing it up with company culture that reflects its messaging

There are currently 11 team members across marketing, product development and finance and it’s growing. “We are constantly congratulating and cheering each other on. It’s at the core of our culture – to send a quick email to one another recognising good work. We also work very hard, which a start-up always demands.”

The founders also raised an astonishing $2.57 million before even launching. Was that pervasive positive thinking the secret to success? “When you have all of the pieces of a successful business, and you find yourself as passionate about your work as we are, it really helps,” says MJ. “We have a lot of support and interest in clapit, a passionate team, and a strong strategy. Those three factors have made the funding process more seamless.”


They chose their ambassadors wisely

The company’s launch in New York was combined with their #MAKEMEAMUSE initiative – a search for their next digital influencer. “We discovered Emma Scribner who is such an inspirational young woman. She’s a neuroscience student from Austin, Texas,” says MJ. Diagnosed with epilepsy as a child, Emma has gone through two brain surgeries at just 20 years of age. She acts as an advocate for organisations raising awareness for epilepsy and brain disorders.

In short, she’s not your typical brand face. “She is such a positive ambassador for young women and all of our users. We’re very excited to have her as the face of clapit!”

It’s no accident that clapit’s brand ambassadors are always personalities who are out there doing interesting things – not just a line-up of pretty, famous faces. “We target those who share the same vision as we do: a positive space in social media that is empowering new talent.”

Their Australian ambassador is the perfect example. “Bambi [Northwood-Blyth] is an amazing model, but she is also a young business woman with a few businesses in operation. Preston [Pollard] is a skateboarder from Alaska who mentors youth around the world and always has a positive message.

“These are the kind of ambassadors that we want to work with.”


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