Startup Profile: Natter – the three-word social media platform

7th October 2014

Packed with potential.

That’s how TechSPARK would describe Natter in three words.

Proud sponsor of the SPARKies awards, which celebrate the best in Bristol-Bath tech, Natter is a brand new, stripped-back social media platform where every word matters. Reminiscent of Twitter, it takes brevity to a whole new level – just in time for digital real estate to shrink to the size of a wristwatch. Users can post anything, providing they only use three words, plus a hashtag or reply username.

natter strap line

So far, so simple. But what’s the platform’s purpose? We had a natter of our own, with the startup’s CEO Neil Stanley.

The magic number

“Natter is, very simply, three-word microblogging,” Neil tells us. “Those of us who’ve been testing it have found two different use cases. One is the most simple kind of Foursquare type check-in, which is ‘at the pub’ or something equally simple.”

This is the no-fluff utilitarian angle — conveying need-to-know information with secret agent tight-lippedness.

“At the other end of the scale,” Neil says, “there’s a high degree of eloquence and beauty in encapsulating one’s thoughts in merely three words.”

“There’s a high degree of eloquence and beauty in encapsulating one’s thoughts in merely three words”

 

Using the three-word limit as a creative exercise is not unlike popular ‘flash fiction’ challenges such as #sixwordstories. Stricter than its microblogging counterparts, using Natter requires a little extra thought.

This creativity was, in fact, the original inspiration behind the platform: “The idea came from a party I was at a few years ago. There was an idea that everyone around the table should write a card containing three words about the person whose birthday it was.

“Actually it’s quite nice: rather than making lengthy speeches, summing up your feelings and sentiments about an individual in three words. It just seemed a really elegant and eloquent thing, which we’ve now built into an internet version that the public can use.”

Just add people

What these two different use cases show is that Natter is primed for experimentation: “I think there are a variety of use cases and actually we hope to find out more and more as people use it,” says Neil, who encourages users to “be as laconic as we try to be.”

natter screen shot

What has the Natter team learned since building the platform? “About a hundred things,” Neil tells us, laughing, “where do you want me to start?

“We’re an entrepreneurial business based in Bath and we do projects like this all the time: we’ve learnt a lot from every single one. But not all of them get the traction that Natter’s having, which is why we’re now promoting it; and we’re delighted to be a sponsor of the SPARKies awards.”

“Bath in three words? I love it!”

 

Why Bath? “In three words?” he asks. “I love it! In all seriousness, it’s — and I’ll need to use more than three words — it’s a combination of really nice, real people and, from a technology standpoint, a skill base that you would typically only find in London.”

Get while hot

So how can you sign up for the platform? It’s easy. Head to natter.com and grab yourself a username.

natter screen shot

The ‘Home’ tab displays a feed of everyone you follow, while the ‘Explore’ tab currently hosts a stream of everyone on Natter. This is where you’ll want to head first to find people to follow.

In three words: It’s pretty simple. And three more: Go have fun.

Thanks to Neil for taking the time to speak to us, and to Natter for sponsoring the SPARKies. You can find Neil on Natter @neil, and we’re also on there @techspark. For the latest Sparkies news, head to techspark.co.