Ryan Hamilton of Universimm: 5 Things We Can Each Do To Make Social Media And The Internet A Kinder And More Tolerant Place
Embrace an open mind and forge new friendships. Countless individuals yearn for companionship, and by being receptive, we can alleviate loneliness and nurture meaningful connections.
As a part of our interview series about the things we can each do to make social media and the internet a kinder and more tolerant place, I had the pleasure to interview Ryan Hamilton.
Ryan Hamilton, the Creator and Founder of Universimm, boasts a rich entrepreneurial journey that spans continents and industries. With three successful startups in South America and a renowned adventure travel business featuring over 188 destinations under his belt, Ryan’s business acumen shines through in every facet of Universimm. Universimm’s mission is clear: to revolutionize the landscape and usher in a brighter, more innovative future. Focusing on hyper-relevant content, fostering like-minded engagement, and nurturing authentic social connections, Universimm stands apart with a unique business model poised to become the next social phenomenon. It’s a lifestyle brand that inspires its members to share what truly matters to them, poised to disrupt the status quo and offer a fresh perspective on the world.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
It all began in South Africa and led me on an incredible odyssey to the magnificent Skibo Castle in the highlands of Scotland, famously founded by the great Andrew Carnegie. While at Skibo Castle, I had the privilege of donning a kilt, and within those historic walls, momentous events such as JP Morgan’s acquisition of Carnegie Steel unfolded, giving birth to US Steel. The castle itself proved to be an endlessly inspiring setting.
My professional path then guided me to London, where I served as a concierge for numerous celebrities, and it was during this time that I acquired my wine certifications. This achievement laid the groundwork for my subsequent role as a sommelier aboard luxury yachts, allowing me to explore the world’s most enchanting destinations. Serendipity intervened when I met my South American wife, eventually leading us to settle in Uruguay. In this new chapter of my life, I ventured into the world of startups, undertaking three ventures fueled by determination and a steadfast spirit, with my crowning achievement being the indomitable Universimm.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
As a concierge in the vibrant heart of London, I had the extraordinary privilege of mingling with luminaries from the film industry, including actors, producers, and directors. One indelible memory stands out: the day I found myself assisting none other than Oliver Stone in the pre-iPhone, pre-screenshot era. He entrusted me with the task of faxing portions of the script for his epic film, “Alexander.” With aspirations of immersing myself in the world of filmmaking, I summoned the courage to pose a question to Mr. Stone that had been burning within me: “What are the prospects of me joining the set of ‘Alexander’?” To my astonishment, his response was refreshingly candid: “If you’re willing to endure five hours of sleep per night, rise at the break of dawn, and commit yourself relentlessly for three uninterrupted months, the job is yours!” His candid words revealed the unglamorous reality behind the silver screen.
In truth, the allure of working on film sets often belies the rigorous demands and challenges that underlie the glitz and glamor.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Mistakes and failures stand as the very crucible of growth for entrepreneurs. They are not mere stumbles but rather invaluable stepping stones on the path to success. Each misstep and setback imparts essential lessons, bestowing upon us the wisdom to make judicious decisions, even in scenarios that may appear trivial or straightforward. These experiences are the secret arsenal of seasoned entrepreneurs, arming them with the insight to navigate the complex terrain of business with both grace and resilience.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
As a first-time tech founder, my focus has been deeply rooted in addressing a significant issue within social media — namely, the algorithm-driven burying of 70% of user content, accompanied by the endless scrolling and delivery of irrelevant, poorly targeted ads. To tackle this challenge head-on, I recognized the imperative need to establish an alternative business model that not only questions the status quo but also pioneers a disruptive new market segment. Thus, Universimm was conceived — a sophisticated entertainment app that intelligently circumvents Apple’s tracking mechanisms, reaching an impressive 1.4 billion iPhone users through its advanced filtering system. By eliminating the necessity to predict user behavior, we ensure privacy and offer a seamless user experience.
Our unified platform consolidates multiple social networks under one roof, catering to individual interests and empowering users to regain control over their content. With no time wasted on intrusive tracking, Universimm stands as the trailblazing app that enables users to post to entire countries — a feat previously unprecedented. Furthermore, our intelligent filtering system addresses the issue of mindless scrolling, which has a notable impact on users’ mental health. In this competitive space, innovative thinking outside the box is imperative for success.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. Have you ever been publicly shamed or embarrassed on social media? Can you share with our readers what that experience felt like?
During my time as a student, social media had yet to take over, so I consider myself lucky to have evaded the treacherous realm of embarrassing videos floating around online. It’s crucial to exercise caution with our digital footprints, as there exist plenty of trolls who derive joy from stirring up needless commotion.
What did you do to shake off that negative feeling?
Our thoughts shape our reality, and with that understanding, I consciously choose to uplift myself by cultivating positive thinking and transforming my mindset. Universimm brings together like-minded individuals based on their interests. We foster meaningful discussions on niche topics, creating a safe space to avoid public shaming and irrelevant content.
When one reads the comments on Youtube or Instagram, or the trending topics on Twitter, a great percentage of them are critical, harsh, and hurtful. The people writing the comments may feel like they are simply tapping buttons on a keyboard, but to the one on the receiving end of the comment, it is very different. This may be intuitive, but I feel that it will be instructive to spell it out. Can you help illustrate to our readers what the recipient of a public online critique might be feeling?
At the core, we humans are a complex bunch. Each one of us is uniquely crafted, with our own quirks and idiosyncrasies. It’s fascinating how our reactions can often reveal more about our “inner worlds” than the actual critique at hand.
Do you think a verbal online attack feels worse or less than a verbal argument in “real life”? How are the two different?
Real-life attacks hurt deeply. They are intentional, while online verbal attacks stem from insecurity, misinformation and disinformation
What long term effects can happen to someone who was shamed online?
The impact largely depends on one’s mindset. Individuals with a weaker mindset tend to experience recurring effects, whereas those with a resolute mindset can overcome them through nurturing positive thoughts.
Many people who troll others online, or who leave harsh comments, can likely be kind and sweet people in “real life”. These people would likely never publicly shout at someone in a room filled with 100 people. Yet, on social media, when you embarrass someone, you are doing it in front of thousands or even millions of people, and it is out there forever. Can you give 3 or 4 reasons why social media tends to bring out the worst in people; why people are meaner online than they are in person?
- Unresolved Anger
- Pride & Resentment
- Insecurity and Rejection
- Jealousy & Envy
If you had the power to influence thousands of people about how to best comment and interact online, what would you suggest to them? What are your “5 things we should each do to help make social media and the internet a kinder and more tolerant place”? Can you give a story or an example for each?
- Strive to treat your neighbor in the same way that you would want to be treated, exemplifying the principles of empathy, respect, and kindness.
- It’s important to remember that every person is engaged in their own personal battles, battles that often remain unseen.
- A mere compliment has the power to uplift and brighten someone’s day, especially when they are going through a rough patch. Never underestimate the impact of kind words on others’ well-being.
- Sharing motivational messages and personal testimonies can be a powerful way to inspire and uplift others.
- Embrace an open mind and forge new friendships. Countless individuals yearn for companionship, and by being receptive, we can alleviate loneliness and nurture meaningful connections.
Freedom of speech prohibits censorship in the public square. Do you think that applies to social media? Do American citizens have a right to say whatever they want within the confines of a social media platform owned by a private enterprise?
Ultimately the crux of the matter lies in the nature of the content — whether it promotes violence or illegal activities — and its adherence to the app store review guidelines. These guidelines wield tremendous authority, empowering them to potentially remove your social media platform. A prime example illustrative of this predicament is Parler.
If you had full control over Facebook or Twitter, which specific changes would you make to limit harmful or hurtful attacks?
Universimm, my startup, sets a prime example. By utilizing recognition technology we can identify objects, people, text, scenes, and activities in images and videos, as well as detect any inappropriate content.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“There is this misconception that our happiness is based on our circumstances, but the truth is that it’s based on our attitude towards each circumstance, rather than the circumstance itself.” I find this very relevant to my everyday life as it’s not the situation we find ourselves in, but rather how we choose to perceive and approach it that truly shapes our happiness and mindset! The biggest obstacle is yourself!
We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I reside in Uruguay, and on a fortuitous occasion, Elon Musk graced the same restaurant in Jose Ignacio. As fellow South Africans, I intended to engage in a conversation, but alas, my wife intervened. Nonetheless, I eagerly await the opportunity to regale Elon with this anecdote, perhaps over a delectable lunch accompanied by a fine Uruguayan Tannat. It is inevitable that Universimm & X, both being social networks, shall converge in due course.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!
Ryan Hamilton of Universimm: 5 Things We Can Each Do To Make Social Media And The Internet A Kinder… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.