Dec 04, 2013 Joe Genco Uncategorized
In a day and age when there are hundreds of thousands of websites on the Internet, a Skaneateles-native thinks he has an idea that could be the next big thing.
Anthony Richichi launched his social media website ChronicleMe (chronicleme.com) in October. The site allows users to anonymously post personal secrets in a safe environment.
Richichi said he first had the idea for ChronicleMe while in his dormitory at Phillips Exteter academy in New Hampshire. After getting some big news, he wanted to share it with others, but was hesitant to post on Facebook or other public sites.
“When you post anything on social media you are susceptible to the eyes of millions and millions of people, I wanted to tell my closest friends and my closest relative of my struggle selectively, but I didn’t want to expose myself to the viral nature of social media,” he said.
ChronicleMe allows people to share genuine thoughts or stories without the public nature of social media and without the possibility for cyber-bullying present on most message board platforms.
Users of the site make an account and are able to make 300-character anonymous posts on one of two web pages within ChronicleMe: Laugh and Support. Laugh is for humorous, light-hearted stories, while support posts tend to be more serious and could include what Richichi calls “deep dark secrets,” dealing with issues such as substance abuse.
The anonymity of the site allows users to be truthful and authentic with their comments, Richichi said.
“We as social media users today seldom express authenticity and vulnerability because we fear the repercussions of doing so. We post what other people want to see, we post only things that are perfect because we know everybody is watching,” he said.
Similar to the “Like” button on Facebook, users have two options to click when viewing others’ posts on the site. In ChronicleMe Support the options are IFFY (I feel for you) and ICU (I completely understand). In ChronicleMe Laugh offers Hi5 (high five) and NVU (I envy you).
Posts don’t allow text comments, though users can opt to reveal their identity and send private messages to engage posters further.
“People are really coming together and finding refuge on ChronicleMe. That’s a very powerful thing, we are connecting like-minded people so they can talk about their experiences,” Richichi said.
Users of Support can also anonymously click “seek help,” which will send the user to a page that provides links to third-party resources such as suicide hotlines or Alcoholics Anonymous.
Although Richich had the idea for ChroncileMe before finishing high school, he didn’t have the technical knowledge to design and launch the site on its own. He needed seed money to make his idea become a reality.
After graduating from Phillips Exeter this past spring, he got an internship working with U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte in Washington D.C. During the internship, he was able to connect with Peter Coors, who sits on the board of directors of Molson Coors Brewing Company, who eventually agreed to fund the company.
Richichi, now age 20, set up operations in Auburn and decided to make ChronicleMe his full-time job instead of going to college. Though most internet start-up companies are located in Silicon Valley of California, Richichi said he wants to stay local for as long as he can since he still has strong ties to the Skaneateles-area community. Some of the site’s services are outsourced to other parts of the country, though the design for the website was done by Syracuse-based Lerentech Solutions.
As with most social media websites, ChronicleMe does not currently have any revenue. It is totally free to use and has no advertising or premium services. If the site seems like it will be a success, it will attract more investments and eventually turn to selling ads for revenue or be bought by a larger company, like recent success stories Instagram or Snapchat.
For now, ChronicleMe is in its beginning stages, though Richichi hopes the service will grow to national prominence, not just for his livelihood, but also for the greater good.
Based on early feedback, Richichi said that people have embraced the website’s ability to act as a support system for people having personal struggles or who are need of professional help.
“Users are not only being directed to the resource pages, but also using its services and that’s a very humbling thing to be a part of and I’m very grateful to be there for people who need it the most.”
Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.