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

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

And that is why I created KINN – a Contacts app.

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

How I used to use social media

Understanding how I used social media and what for had become a top task for me. I started looking at my habits and the interactions I made with friends and family.

I found out was that normally I would 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. 

Most of the times I didn’t even know why I would 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. This was one of the big reasons why I disliked 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 the end of September last year I have let everyone know on Facebook that I was about to 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. 

And although I understand not everyone uses social media how I did, 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.

How KINN respects your privacy

KINN uses your phone’s contacts and details to to remind you about people. Because of this, an important requirement of this app is to have 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.

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 and reminders are scheduled locally eliminating the need for any server or engines.

The different types of contacts in your phone

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
  • Organisations

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

KINN is available right now

KINN is now available to download from the AppStore.