I first heard rumblings about Cyber Dust via Twitter, but apparently it also has its own series.
The brainchild of Mark Cuban, Cyber Dust aims to be “the most personal communication platform ever”.
What does this mean?
According to their website, this means fully encrypted messages that never hit a hard drive. Once they are gone, they are gone forever. The website claims they cannot even be screen captured!
Dusts, Blasts and Groups
I downloaded the app (it’s available on iOS, Android and Windows) created an account and set to exploring. You can add a short description of yourself along with a website. The first thing I did was see if any of my friends were using it. The app will search the contacts in your phone. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any current contacts using Cyber Dust, which was going to make playing with the app a little difficult, but I pressed on and watched the tutorial so I could learn the basics.
At its core, this is a messaging app. You can send private messages called “Dusts” to your contacts. It’s pretty standard – your keyboard pops up and you can write a message. Cyber Dust also has its own sets of emojis, including business monkeys, silly monkeys, cats and food items.
Much like Snapchat, Dusts become well, dust. They disappear within 100 seconds of being read and also disappear within 24 hours if they haven’t been read.
You can also send “Blasts”, which are messages sent to a group of people, but read privately.
Groups are exactly that – group chats.
Admittedly, I didn’t see anything too mind-blowing at this point. I’ve used plenty of messaging platforms and this one didn’t seem too different, though the user interface is impressive.
Maybe I needed to see more interaction.
I apparently had no friends on this platform, so I tapped the Discover button (another Snapchat-ish feature).
The Discover feature includes two sections, Discover and Chatters.
The Discover tab features company Cyber Dust accounts such as Forbes and Moz Blog.
The Chatters tab features individuals that are open to “Dusting” with you about various topics.
I followed a few of the featured companies including +_smallbusinesstrends, +_forbes and +_ycombinator.
It didn’t take long for me to receive my first blast. How exciting! The blast I received was from +_smallbusinesstrends and it contained a title, summary and link to an article: 21 Days Gives Insights into LinkedIn Success.
I tried to screencap this, when I tried, I received this message:
“Unable to capture screenshot. Prevented by security policy.”
This is distinctly NOT Snapchat-ish!
Once I tapped on the link, I was taken to a browser that opened up to the article on the Small Business Trends website. I was able to screencap that.
I received a number of blasts from the other companies that I followed. Most were articles but some were videos as well.
I tried out the Blast function myself. A Text Blast is simply a message, but you can tag other users and include links. A Media Blast allows you to add a photo or a video to a blast.
Benefits and Challenges of Cyber Dust
For individuals, the clear benefit of Cyber Dust lies in its privacy. I can’t think of any other social or messaging platform that contains the same privacy features as Cyber Dust. However, since Dusts disappear after 24 hours if they aren’t read, it’s difficult to imagine individuals using Cyber Dust as their main communication platform.
For businesses, Cyber Dust provides a platform for reaching your audience in real time. If a Cyber Duster is following you (and they have their notifications turned on), you can send them links to your latest blogs, photos and videos instantly! You can see how many Cyber Dusters viewed your Blast by tapping My Blasts. The confidentiality aspect lends well to customer service for industries that demand privacy, but the disappearing Dusts might make it a challenge. Customers wouldn’t be able to refer to your messages again, which could make for a lot back and forth “Dusting”.
Cyber Dust is still in its early phases, so the reach businesses are looking for may not be there yet. According to the Google Play Store, the app has had 100,000+ downloads and I would venture to guess that most are early adopters that may or may not stick with the app long-term.
Should your business be on Cyber Dust?
If you are in a business that demands confidentiality like law or finance, Cyber Dust could be the perfect platform for communicating with your clients due to its unique privacy features.
If the growth of Snapchat has taught us anything, it’s that privacy, or at least the illusion of it, is becoming a sort of currency in the social media realm. Cyber Dust might just be the “adult” version of Snapchat! Will its growth match that of its youth-centered counterpart?
Since it hasn’t reached “critical mass” just yet, I would advise that companies at least check it out and claim their name. It’s tough to make these types of predictions, but based on my first 24 hours on Cyber Dust, the platform has a lot of potential and could indeed become The Next Big Thing!
Are you on Cyber Dust? Do you think it could become The Next Big Thing? Feel free to Dust me at +amyatimagin and let me know!