Interview with Elements: A New Kind of Twitter?

A new product called elements launched this week from the team behind Lunarr, and elements bears the same simplicity and effortlessness that its parent company is known for. At first glance elements may appear to be a media-updating tool akin to Twitter or Tumblr, but at its core lacks a specific design that evokes a method of fluid and continual sharing that can also be used for very specific ways of giving and gaining information from a select group of people.

To get a better understanding of what elements is, how it works and how it’s different, I interviewed co-founder Hideshi Hamaguchi.

Kristen Nicole of Social Times: What is elements exactly, and how does it work?

Hideshi Hamaguchi of elements: Elements is a toy for inspiration. It will aid in the first phase of concept building – the moment of inspiration. Elements offers you the room to be inspired without reservation, without limits, and without distractions. You will see a box and 4 big buttons. The box holds one element at a time – either an image or a quote. The buttons allow you to take four actions:

Explore – proceed to the next element

I like it – save this element to your personal elements page

Cast it – broadcast this element to your followers and those I’m following

Create – upload your own elements, or clip them from the web

You also have the option to follow other element users and browse their personal element pages to view their approach to inspiration.

However, the elements you’ll view are not all random. Every action you take will factor into an algorithm that will customize the elements you’ll see. The more actions you take and the more followers/followees you have, the deeper your personal element customization will get.

Kristen Nicole: How does it tie in with LUNARR themes?

Hideshi Hamaguchi: There are three phases of concept building and project management:

The first phase is to come up with your grand idea. You might need to start a project while lacking a firm direction, so you brainstorm and conjure up various inspirations to get started.

The second phase is to organize your elements of inspiration.

The third phase is centered around creating concrete items (documents, designs, etc.) and managing them until you have a finished product.

LUNARR elements takes care of the first phase, while LUNARR themes covers the third phase. We’ll eventually add another service to house the second phase, but each service will have the ability to work alone, or together as a 3-tiered suite.

Kristen Nicole: You can follow and be followed on elements, and the interface is simple and effective. Are there any conceptual similarities between elements and Twitter or Tumblr when it comes to the social components of elements?

Hideshi Hamaguchi
: Yes, but they are just similarities. With Twitter, you’re shown an entire page of words thrown at you from all those whom you are following. It’s fun, and it’s chaotic. While using elements, the contents are brought to you one at a time. You might have 200 followers, but the actions that factor into bringing you each specific element remain uncertain to you, increasing your sensitivity to each picture or quote. Our system is based on human experience. While you’re on elements, the reactions gathered from you and everyone else will influence the next element you see.

Kristen Nicole: Why do you mark public elements by “late afternoon,” “evening,” etc?
Hideshi Hamaguchi: We built this tool for people to come use it without a clear objective, therefore our tool had to be non-objective. To do that, we sprinkled uncertainty throughout the system to keep it vague. Maybe the blurred timestamp is too extreme? We can tune it later if we need to, but for now, it keeps the system and the experience very relaxed.

Kristen Nicole: For sharing elements through the “cast” option or submitting an element, are there any plans to integrate these options with other third party apps, or publishing platforms?

Hideshi Hamaguchi: It’s very possible and we’re open to those options. Right now, we do not have any plan in the works, but we’ll keep an open mind.

Kristen Nicole: What are your end goals with elements?

Hideshi Hamaguchi: To adequately provide a space for expansive inspiration. We’ll think about the business model after we’ve accomplished that. In short, we’d like to make your daily morning coffee-time more fruitful and inspirational. And to top it off, allow you to help make your friends’ morning coffee-time equally as wonderful.

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