In today’s world, it’s no secret that social media is only a small reflection of what our reality truly looks like. From MySpace days to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more, most modern social media platforms have been treated as highlight reels of our lives.
But is this a realistic portrayal of the human experience? Artist and tech startup founder Ziarekenya Smith would say, not at all, considering most platforms today do not allow space for people to be fully transparent about both the good and bad events that happen in their lives. This is why he set out to change this with his platform Inpathy.
Inpathy is described as a “first-of-its-kind online space designed to deliver the human experience to millions of people worldwide by encouraging transparency, normalizing moods and showing people, it’s okay to express yourself.”
Per Smith, the goal of the platform is to “recreate the human experience” to foster a more balanced environment for interactions between people online.
Prior to founding his company, Smith — a Detroit native who attended Full Sail University, better known as “The Harvard of creative schools” — was a well-established design artist who freelanced during his college years for major brands like Nike, Jordan Brand, Bleacher Report and Team Lebron, to name a few.
After exploring a career path as a creator, Smith decided to give up his digital arts ambitions to pursue an entrepreneurship journey. However, like many new graduates, Smith experienced a rough patch trying to find his footing in a new industry after obtaining his bachelor’s degree in Digital Art & Design.
“It gave me a hard dose of reality that I wasn’t prepared for at the time,” he tells AfroTech exclusively. “And I wanted to express that on social media but I stopped myself because social media is really only for sharing the good moments and positivity. But this is not normal because life is about peaks and valleys, so why are we just showing the wins?”
“We all experience [different things] that can cause a range of emotions so we don’t just [stay happy] all the time,” he adds. “Current social media doesn’t represent that at all and it’s a reason why people get fatigued [online] because it’s not representing reality, it’s fake.”
Smith — still searching for his next tailor-made career path — had a desire to help transform the social media landscape for others. He then set out to create Inpathy — a platform that allows people to feel comfortable enough to share their hardships and achievements all in one place.
“Your humanness is not enough and that’s such a bad example to show people but social media is rewarding it. When I look at that I say things need to change because social media isn’t going anywhere in our future,” he shares. “People say, ‘stay off of social media,’ but that’s not the solution. You have to be realistic so [the real solution is] we need a better, more balanced platform. We can still [celebrate] the highs of life but I’m just unlocking the other side of our emotions. Inpathy isn’t a mental health app, it’s a human app that embodies the human experience.”
According to Smith, Inpathy is “built off of community, emotions and stories” and so it is with his platform that he aims to shift the current social media space to better accommodate human elements online.
“[At the end of the day] we all go through the same things so I’m just trying to bring people back to where we’re at,” he says. “The reason I talk about the lows so much is because we already have the highs figured out.” The highs of human experiences is what allows platforms like TikTok to be ever-so popular across industries but now it’s time to shake things up to help people start being more real.
In addition to introducing Inpathy to the public, Smith and his company are also looking to raise $250,000 to hire more staff to assist in the platform’s final developments and complete their vision to reshape social media.
Those who wish to support and donate to Inpathy’s crowdfunding campaign can click here.
For more information about Inpathy, visit its website.