Katherine Teo is the woman behind Dayre, a members-only microblogging app without targeted content or ads. As the current Head of Digital at M&C Saatchi Singapore, she tells Hive Life why she founded Create Collective to keep this virtual safe space alive.
The Internet can be a vicious place – not least for those seeking refuge on social media platforms that claim to protect their users. Katherine Teo, Head of Digital at M&C Saatchi Singapore by day, founder of Create Collective, a startup focused on growing online communities, by night, was one of those users seeking comradery in the online world, primarily as a silent member of Dayre, a members-only microblogging app created for women to share and connect in a virtual safe space. When she got word that the original creators of the app planned to shut it down, she decided to use her expertise and passion for empowerment to step in and rescue the platform from going under, delivering a safe place for honest conversations she felt was sorely missing in the online world. “Everyone deserves a safe and inclusive space to share their stories, thoughts, feelings, and perspectives without the fear of data mining, privacy infringement, cyberbullying, doxing or trolls,” she states. She talked Hive Life through how she plans to deliver on that.
Create Collective was founded by seven partners in 2018, is a subsidiary of their employer M&C Saatchi Global, and has been created specifically to build homes for communities online. Dayre is its first offering. “Create Collective is all about building brands with purpose by humanising technology. We hope to one day be known as the company that builds great communities,” says Katherine. Her motive for acquiring Dayre is one that’s close to heart. “For me personally, I always knew that if I were to branch out, I would want to do something related to female empowerment. So, when the original owners announced that they were shutting Dayre down, I personally felt a sense of loss. I thought it was a pity. Dayre is unique, so when the thought to acquire it came, I knew it was time.”
First introduced in 2013 by a blog advertising network as a microblogging app, Dayre was initially launched as a convenient way to blog via mobile devices. “Today with Create Collective at its helm, it stands for much more than that,” says Katherine. “It’s a dedicated, safe, and inclusive space for women where Real Girl Talk can take place, where women can share authentic stories and reviews, unfiltered thoughts and experiences, and untold secrets – with a community of women who gets them or just want to be there for them.” Having relaunched last year, the app plays host to many sub-communities – #DayreBeauty, #DayreTravel, #DayreMummies, #DayreBrides, #DayreHomes and #DayreFatties – communicating everything from their biggest dreams to their daily grind with fellow users. “It made sense to gear our direction towards supporting and growing our existing community of women, and remembering the reason why they fell in love with Dayre,” says Katherine. “I have been moved in so many instances and occasions. There are women who shared stories of how they have had their hearts broken and eventually found love again. Some shared their struggles with trying to conceive.”
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To remove the all-too-pervasive fear of negative comments that normally stalks the world of online communication, they relaunched the platform with a subscription model – users pay SGD 4.48 a month to be members, giving them access to all ‘Dayrean’ sub-communities, as well as a soon-to-be-launched ‘Dayre Lifestyle Rewards Store’ that will allow its users to redeem free products and other offers. “The new Dayre seeks to offer women a platform for unbridled expression, adopting a subscription approach. In this way, the subscription fee works to hold members accountable for the content and comments they offer on the platform. It raises the barriers to entry for trolls. This, in essence, protects women’s rights to self-expression without fear of data-harvesting and trolls preying on them in their most vulnerable moments.” This sense of protection is furthered by a strict adherence to privacy. “Firstly, we’re members-only. Content on Dayre is no longer searchable on public search engines. A members-only approach raises the bar for privacy and accountability in the digital age,” says Katherine. The app also comes completely ad-free. “There are no complicated algorithms on our feed; it is chronological. Users should be allowed to decide for themselves the content they want to read, and the people they want to keep up with.”
The Dayre community has grown quickly – currently, there are about 500,000 users on the site. “Between September (when we soft-launched to existing users) to December 2019, there have been more than 100,000 posts uploaded, showcasing how Dayre puts the power of storytelling in the hands of our users,” outlines Katherine. Branching out beyond women’s screens, they host events to bring their conversations into the real world. “We also launched #DayreAFK (Dayre Away From Keyboard), a series of community events where we bring our strong network of women together and help them bond and know one another.” It all feeds into a mission to foster true comradery and genuine support through this platform. As Katherine puts it, “On Dayre, women know that they are not alone because they are connected to a community that understands, supports and empowers.”