Justin Brown and Mark Bakacs began Ideapod in 2013 believing the world needed a platform for the free and open exchange of ideas. In 2014 we launched the first beta version of our social network promoting this aim, opening it to the public in 2015. By the end of 2016 our community had grown, with over 15,000 ideas shared and a core community of regular users.
Yet at the beginning of 2017, it was clear that the world was changing. Social media platforms had already made ideas free and open, but this was coinciding with a widening polarization of the public in Western societies (and globally).
In this polarized environment, ideas aren’t really free and open in the way we wanted them to be. Instead, ideas go viral within their own echo chambers.
Here’s the definition of an echo chamber:
“an environment in which a person encounters only beliefs or opinions that coincide with their own, so that their existing views are reinforced and alternative ideas are not considered.”
This describes the current state of the Internet and the polarization of Western society. We find ourselves using social media platforms that feed us media that reinforces our current perspectives. Media platforms have little incentive to create content that challenges their audience to think differently about various issues.
With this context in mind, in 2017 Ideapod launched its online magazine that now reaches millions of people every month. Our editorial focus, driven by Lachlan Brown, is to explore the ideas shaping our world so that our readers can understand the ways in which ideas condition their conception of themselves, each other and the world around them. Our aim is to publish stories that help people to find their own authenticity, and to do so in an informative and entertaining way.
In 2018, we launched Ideapod Academy, our education arm providing online workshops and eBooks that provide people with the knowledge and tools to escape from societal and educational conditioning so they can live meaningful lives on their own terms. Our Academy’s educational focus is guided by Rudá Iandê.
In early 2019, we launched Ideapod Discussions, a new version of our social network. It’s a place where our community can come together and discuss the stories shared on the main site.
We are also currently building the Filter Bubble Buster, our search engine for surfacing perspectives in the media that manage to inspire people across multiple echo chambers.