GoWild Co-Founder, Brad Luttrell, with his 2017 Kentucky buck.
AUTHOR: BRAD LUTTRELL, CO-FOUNDER
A lot of you have been asking us questions about a new social media app that's catching some attention (and not the one we built). Unlike GoWild, this one is not an app for hunting, fishing, firearms, archery or any of the likes. That part you can figure out fairly quickly and on your own. But this new app is apparently getting some traction among our industry, simply because folks are fed up with what's out there.
Our team doesn't really spend a lot of time really thinking about the competition. That's no B.S. But after being tagged in enough posts and getting quite a few questions on this, I'm going to respond.
Most importantly, I want to give you a few things to think about for any social media platform.
1) What are the company's terms & conditions?
Terms and conditions are the guiding light for how an app will monetize, protect and curate its content. We try to be as transparent as possible with our terms. The app we keep getting asked about specifically has rules and terms about posting content with dead animals in it. Guess what hunting pics are, folks? How long until your posts are being censored, deleted or taken down on this new platform?
Just for comparison (and for fun, honestly), here's a key line in our terms: "This is a conservation, nature and wildlife advocacy platform, so users who use company to attack other users for their beliefs may be removed from the platform and banned from future use."
That is, we not only welcome hunting and firearms content, we're not allowing the haters to infiltrate it.
2) What are the founders' beliefs?
Who's building your social media app? So many tech companies like to remain faceless and neutral. I think they do this for a few reasons. No. 1 is it's easier to just not have a stance on anything, and it also caters to the masses. And No. 2 is it's scary for these companies to think that their team members' beliefs will be tied to their product. We decided early that GoWild is something we believe in and are proud of. This is something we would use ourselves, so we're not going to hide behind a logo. If you've used our app for long, you've likely interacted with our team. You might have even gotten questions from our developer, Chris, posting from his personal profile, trying to make your experience better. You've heard from me directly.
We are real people just like you. I'm not a billionaire. I'm not a celebrity. I was raised in the hills of southeastern Kentucky. My family is made up of hard working coal miners, police officers and nurses. People who know me in real life, know me for my BBQ and passion for the outdoors, just like you do. There's nothing lost in the translation of a public relations effort.
You have to ask yourself if the creators of your platform support you and your lifestyle. Our owners are hunters, anglers, firearms enthusiasts, archers, hikers, and campers. We believe in keeping public land just that—public. We believe in raising the next generation outdoors, which is why we're partnering with groups like Raise Em Outdoors, Outdoors Access, ReelCamo Girl and many more, to help get people outside.
3) Think of the "Why" when you use an app.
I've jumped on board with a lot of social media apps over the years. I protested Twitter for a few months, before coming on full force (sorry if you followed me in fall of 2009—it was a lonely year after I moved to Memphis, and I Tweeted about Kentucky basketball far too much). I've tried out some platforms that I liked but they never could seem to take off. And I ultimately had the hair brained idea that there should be a place where we, the outdoors community, could talk about our lifestyle openly without comments being taken out of context.
This doesn't mean I don't use or even like Instagram. I post a lot of my personal food and hunting shots on there, and GoWild's Instagram account is still a great tool for us to get the word out about our app. But we all have to realize something—the app you use is generating dollars for a company at some point. You then have to ask yourself, when that company gets your money from ad sales, where's it going? What agendas are they funding? If they have anti-gun policies for advertising, and actively censor and delete hunting content, where do you think their policy agendas fall?
If you're seeing advertisements, you are directly funding a company that conflicts with and even opposes your own lifestyle and your own beliefs. It doesn't matter if you're clicking the ads or not. Advertisers count you and the data you provide when propositioning people to spend money. "For $50, we'll help you reach 18,000 people who match your target audience." Those small, quick-hit ads add up to build billion dollar companies.
I spent about five minutes trying to download this competitive app, like I do with any competitive app. But it's going in the folder of apps I don't expect to use. I hope you'll stand strong with me and the GoWild team, and tell your friends about this community. It's built for outdoors, hunting, firearms and fishing enthusiasts, and it's built by outdoors, hunting, firearms and fishing enthusiasts.