Saturday, 15 September 2018

Introducing KINN – a privacy-first app to keep in touch with people

Around September last year I wanted to gift myself some peace of of mind. For more than 2 years before that I have been thinking of scrapping my Facebook, Instagram and other “social” media accounts due to privacy, manipulation and time wasting concerns. But one problem arose: everyone is on social media – how would I be able to keep in touch with them?

KINN helps you keep in touch with your friends and family without compromising your privacy.

Identifying my use cases

I started looking at my habits and how I actually used social media to interact with friends who lived in my home country as well as new friends I made while living in UK.

What I found out was that I would normally get in touch with people either because they are important to me (close friends, family) or because I would be reminded about them by seeing their posts on my feeds. 

Unknown algorithms are everywhere

And what I realised was that most of the times I didn’t even know why I’d see someone’s post. Facebook determines the order, time and what you see in the feed in ways that are unknown to us. The algorithms are meant to make you want to see more, incite you and interact with other’s posts. And that was also partially a big reason for why I started to dislike Facebook. I wasn’t in any control of what I’d see and when, and because of that those suggestions might as well could’ve been random.

Getting off social media, and keep being social

At about the end of September I have let everyone know on Facebook that I’d remove it in due course and posted my contact details so people would be able to contact me. I had decided to remove most of my accounts, and only keep iMessage and Whatsapp for instant messaging.

Unfortunately, this didn’t seem to be enough – so I started collecting people’s contact information myself by individually asking them if they want to keep in touch and to share a phone number and email. Most of them even had their birthdays publicly on Facebook as well, so I was able to save that too.

But I figured having the data wasn’t enough. I needed to be reminded about these people… similarly to how I’d randomly see people’s post or getting Facebook notifications about someone’s new activity. 

I understand not everyone uses social media how I did, but I decided to go forward and build an app that I’d use to stay in touch with friends that will not compromise on privacy.


KINN accesses your phone’s contacts and details to be able to remind you about them. In this sense I knew one of the big dependencies of this app would be having an up-to-date contacts book. I have looked into having integrations with other social media to be able to pull such data and making it simpler, but in the past year Facebook has restricted access to personal data more than ever, probably due to recent scandals.

Keeping privacy in mind with each step

KINN keeps all the information local to your phone. No information is ever uploaded or downloaded to or from the app, which makes the app available at all times and doesn’t compromise on privacy.

All notifications are scheduled locally eliminating the need for any remote notifications server or engine. And KINN is able to remind you on demand about getting in touch with someone at a later date.

Not all contacts are the same

If you remember from earlier, a subset of people I was more interested in were close friends and family which is why KINN allows you to set favourite contacts and dedicates a whole separate section to them.

On the opposite, there are a handful of contacts that one probably shouldn’t be reminded to contact randomly, which is why KINN also has an exclusion list. Some contacts types that I can think of would be:

  • Taxi numbers
  • Your boss or managers
  • Your ex partners
  • Restaurant or takeaways

Finally, KINN will show you upcoming birthdays and will notify you on the date of their birthday to keep in touch using rich notification and useful information about what age they’re turning.

Images are worth…


KINN is available right now

KINN is now available to download from the AppStore. If you want to find out more 

KINN

Stay in touch with friends