- Collate is a startup building a platform for politicians, authors and other leaders to have digital letter correspondence with each other and the public, in public.
- Features will include an 100-word minimum word count on all letters, no commenting, and restrictions on letter replies such that only a person addressed in a letter can respond.
- Founder Oliver Kraftman, 24, graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2020 with a degree in politics and economics.
- Collate launched in April 2022. You can sign up and explore at Collate.org.
Letters have a rich history and can have powerful and lasting political weight. Emile Zola’s letter to the French President in 1989 publicly accused him of antisemitism in the Dreyfus Affair.
LONDON - October 2021: Collate, a London-based startup founded in March 2021, is building a place for high-quality conversations online: a website for politicians, authors and other cultural leaders to have digital letter correspondences with each other and the public, in public.
Letters have been left behind by the internet, with email, WhatsApp and social media replacing them. Collate is using this ancient communication method, not to reverse internet culture, but to use its valuable characteristics to mitigate new problems social media has produced.
By offering a space for leaders to address their thoughts and critics in-depth and without interruption, they have an opportunity to build sympathy for their perspective if they are willing to stand up to scrutiny. For the public, Collate will offer more access to those of interest, to voice concerns, learn from and question those they admire or follow.
Social networks are poorly designed for dialogue, have exacerbated political polarisation, and facilitate huge amounts of abuse aimed at public figures. Letters, Collate believes, are special. They have a rich history of romance and etiquette that will be the foundation of a community seeking something better.
Collate feels a responsibility to design into their business and product features that minimise fake news, abuse and echo chambers. Facebook and Twitter show that certain features and business models can exacerbate these problems and retrospectively trying to manage them is impossible at scale.
In late 2021, Collate ran a student letter-writing competition in partnership with G. F Smith. Students from across the UK addressed politicians from across the world. Collate held a launch party in Shoreditch, London on 9 December to celebrate these entries, all things letters, and the imminent launch of Collate’s platform (high res photos here).
Collate was launched to the world in April 2022. You can go to Collate.org now to sign up.
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Graduate creates new conversation app as antidote to 'toxic' social media
A 24-year-old Jewish Londoner says his new social media app, Collate, will offer its users an "online oasis away from toxic conversations". Oliver Kraftman, whose team includes two interns and a part-time tech adviser, revealed that individual posts will be restricted to at least 100 words in a bid to encourage nuance and long-form discussion.