Social media and the Internet can generally be a challenging place to navigate as a teenage girl. The insurmountable pressure to post “perfect” pictures or videos often lead to people coming off as someone they’re not. However, a social network that launches Friday (Apr. 27) hopes to change that. Maverick is a new social network that encourages girls and teens to rid the idea of the perfected social media persona and dare to be their authentic selves.
According to Deadline, the two co-founders wanted to do more than just connect people but wanted to create a safe space where adolescents and teens take creative risks to express themselves. Digital entrepreneur Brooke Chaffin and renowned academic Catherine Connors are the women responsible for the new site. The two met during their time as executives at Disney Interactive. “We’re about positive engagement that rewards authenticity,” Chaffin said. Instead of likes and comments, the girls will get praised in the form of badges for doing something daring and creative. The duo hopes the new site will combat the loss of self-esteem that occurs when confident little girls enter middle school.
“During early adolescence, the majority of girls stop raising their hands, participating in sports and extra-curricular activities, taking risks and stepping into leadership roles,” Connors said. “In short, they stop believing in themselves. And it’s not because we don’t tell them that they should believe in themselves — it’s that they don’t get enough real opportunity to prove to themselves that they can.”
In order to drum up interest, they have recruited peer influencers such as musicians Chloe x Halle Bailey, who recently dropped their new project The Kids Are Alright, and more. However, they are not naive to the challenges they may face getting young girls to ditch the model they currently know and expect it to be slow at first. “The big challenge for Maverick is convincing them to post something that isn’t so curated, polished and perfect, to put forth something that takes a creative risk,” Chaffin said. “It may be slow at first. That’s the reason we signed a group of influencers, called ‘Founding Mavericks’ … to signal that this is a safe place to be.”
Maveirck is a free app accessed via Apple iPhone or on the web. Once inside the app, they have the opportunity to respond to challenges that are issued by adult role models (known as “Catalysts”) by way of video or photos. It is an ad-free app and complies with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, meaning parents have to provide their consent for children under age 13. Overall, the goal is to create a social media platform built around positive interactions.