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Celebrities and athletes often turn to Twitter to interact with their fans, but for one of the National Basketball Association's biggest stars the popular platform became too noisy.
As his following grew into the millions, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors started using Twitter less and less, something his former university roommate, Bryant Barr, noticed.
When asked about his declining activity levels, Curry gave Barr a straightforward explanation...
...we started having conversations about it and I asked why it was and his response was "it’s just too much of a hassle, it’s too much noise, there’s too much friction to make it worthwhile to spend time doing this."
So Barr, who previously worked at Nike, teamed up with Curry and a former Nike colleague, Jason Mayden, to launch Slyce, a new social platform that the trio hopes will provide high-profile figures like Curry with a better way to interact with fans.
Last month, Curry used his Twitter account, which has over 4.5m followers, to promote a live Q&A session held on Slyce, and the startup has recruited a handful of other athletes to use the service.
According to Curry, "It’s just kind of having control of your own voice." His co-founder, Barr, elaborated...
(Traditional) communication channels have become extremely one sided. And then you have a guy like Steph who has millions of followers the only way he can really interact with them is posting a picture and then walking away from the platform.
Slyce aims to faciliate better, more meaningful interactions with fans.
When Curry held his Q&A session, the company sorted through the questions and selected those that were of the highest quality.
Slyce says that selection process is 90% manual today but it hopes to be able to add greater automation as it gathers more data it can analyze.
A new trend?
It's no surprise that athletes like Curry are investing in social media. And there's plenty of reason to believe that some of the investments they're making could pay off.
For example, celebrity-backed Shots, which counts singer Justin Bieber and boxer Floyd Mayweather as investors and early-adopters, was at one point reported to be in acquisition talks with Twitter.
But Slyce isn't just a new social media app. It's a different kind of social platform that aims to facilitate a different kind of dialog between high-profile users like Curry and their followers.
Can such a platform find success? While celebrity participation will almost certainly drive some level of adoption, it's still doubtful that celebrities will be able to direct enough of the online conversation to platforms they control that they can ignore platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat.
Indeed, the fact that Curry used Twitter to promote his Slyce Q&A highlights just how valuable his Twitter following is.
But if Curry doesn't stay active enough on Twitter or he uses his Twitter account primarily as a vehicle to direct followers to other platforms, the value of that following could decrease.
For this reason, it's important that high-profile users ensure they're using all of the solutions at their disposal, such as social media monitoring tools, which can help them separate the wheat from the chaff on platforms like Twitter.
Fortunately, recognizing just how important high-profile users are to their audiences, the platforms themselves are also looking for ways to better connect celebrities and fans.
For instance, Facebook Mentions aims to provide "a better way for actors, athletes, journalists and other public figures to stay in touch with their followers and the people and topics they care about."
While there's no reason to believe that there isn't room for new platforms like Slyce, celebrities will still need to actively participate on the largest platforms if they want to be a part of the conversation.