Over the past few years, social media has increasingly become market place first and connection platform second. As a result, we were inspired to create Penny, a microblogging and social networking website that hopes to go beyond influencers and brands. Through both the anonymity and simplicity of the platform, Penny aims to foster creativity and connection in its purest form - thoughts and ideas. With Penny we want to create an alternative to the sensationalized and often toxic social media environment and create a safe haven where all you are asked for is a “penny for your thoughts”.

What it does

Penny is a unique social media platform that operates on the basis of “depositing” your thoughts anonymously while being able to save or “withdraw” the thoughts of other users. Once a thought is deposited, you cant access or view it again, mimicking the fleeting nature of thoughts in the real world. On the other hand, withdrawn thoughts can be collected in the user’s “Wallet” and categorized based on the type of thought or idea making it easier for users to come back and view later User’s also are able to see a monthly roundup of some of their favourite thought withdrawals in the form of the “Thought Receipt” on the Wallet page On the “Bank” page, users have a continuous feed of thoughts submitted by other Penny users which they can either scroll past or withdraw Penny’s home page gives users a unique thought of the day and recommended thoughts based on their past withdrawals and also shows thoughts that are currently trending on the platform. Finally, on the user profile, users can see their stats such as how many thoughts they have deposited and how many total withdrawals they have earned from their thoughts

How we built it

ReactJS was used to create all user interface components, bringing Penny to life. Firebase and CockroachDB were used to connect with React and save user data. Twillio was used to deepen user engagement by adding the functionality of Penny sending a thought via email or text. Finally, Figma was used to design the wireframes of the app and overall user flow

Challenges we ran into

The biggest challenge our team ran into was integrating Firebase with our code especially because alot of us were unfamiliar with the tool.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of the idea for Penny itself and really like how the user interface and user experience came together. Additionally, while we did encounter some obstacles, Penny introduced us to numerous new tools that we had no prior experience such as Firebase, CockroachDB and Twillio.

What's next for Penny

Moving forward, our team hopes to make Penny mobile responsive to make it accessible to a greater number of users. Additionally, we want to use an algorithm that utilizes machine learning to more accurately give users thought recommendations based on their interests. Finally, we are hoping to use a tool such as Hootsuite’s social media API to allow users to repost thoughts that they like on their other social media channels.

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