#YEEInterview: The Ethos Network, by Martina Forbicini

Today we are bringing you an astonishing story about a tech start-up youth-led company based in London and their recently launched ETHOS app. Have you ever wished to have a dedicated online space where you could discuss social issues? Now, it’s possible with The Ethos Network, the world first social media platform where you can connect and engage with the causes you care about is here. A new age of social media has begun, one in which we all use our platforms to mobilise social change. 

  • Who is Ali de Brunner? Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Ali de Brunner and I founded The Ethos Network in February 2020 and now run the company with my colleague Ana Gomez Lacazette Pidal. We are both 20 and currently working from our office which is based in London. I am still an undergraduate student and Ana recently graduated with an economics degree. 

  • How did you come up with the idea of the ETHOS app? And how does it work?

With ETHOS I wanted to create a platform on which people discuss only social issues and shared matters. The idea is that everyone has an online identity based on the social issues that matter to them. 

I studied Physics and Philosophy and got really into a philosopher called Hannah Arendt – one interpretation of what she says that hit me is that, in a world where we normalise people engaging with the social sector (eg: in the same way we normalise everyone engaging with the economic), the world would just self-improve! Part of the issue is that social issues aren’t necessarily discussed on a wider scale, and when it comes to shared matters we should basically think the opposite of “Talk Is Cheap” – by talking productively, learning and amplifying the causes, it will subconsciously reflect into our daily lives and we will change our behaviours – this could be on either a big or small scale. 

At the time TikTok was growing in popularity, I realised how much time I personally would spend making a video. If we could normalise a fraction of that effort going into sharing or learning something like an easy hack to be more environmentally friendly, I think that could be quite powerful. So many people already do amazing digital activism on their social channels, but I just thought it should be something that deserves its own platform – I should be able to use Instagram to share pictures with friends and have another place to communicate about the social issues that matter to me. So, I came up with the idea of a platform encouraging widespread normalisation of discussion of social issues. It seemed to be the best way of applying Arendt’s thoughts to the modern world. 

  • It might be argued that virtual interaction could lead to the risk of taking away people from engaging in demonstrations on the streets. An online platform might still provide a sense of involvement but limit the on-site presence of people protesting for social issues. Do you think is true?

This is an interesting question. Personally I think it would not hold true but rather, by making social discussion the norm, this would join people together so they can find the most powerful way to push for a specific change, whether it would be by creating and signing a petition, or by joining a physical protest. 

  • Which is the biggest challenge you have faced (or you are facing) since you launched the ETHOS app?

Glitches and UX limitations. It makes it so difficult, but we are grateful to everyone who goes along with them! Also, it is tricky for some people to make engagements at the start, you have to put yourself out there a bit because for some people communicating about the social issues that matter through social media is new to them. The concept of digital activism is very established within its circle but introducing this on a wider level needs pioneers!

  • Which kind of reactions/feedbacks have the ETHOS app received?

So far it has been positive! Many users have kindly taken part in the feedback process as we are doing our best to push out a much-improved version soon! Furthermore, many amazing activists have supported our concept and joined the platform which has been very promising to see. 

  • Could the ETHOS app increase the risk of marginalizing those communities who don’t have access to internet connection and the technology to get connected?

We would hope that since the topic of conversation on ETHOS is about shared matters, someone would be able to help these marginalised communities, for example by giving their lack of access to technology some exposure on ETHOS. This could trigger the necessary measures needed for them to be connected. Most of all, as we grow, we will do our best within our ability to ensure the app is as accessible as it can be. 

  • In your opinion, which role does youth play in raising awareness about environmental issues?

A huge role! It might sound like a broken record, but at the end of the day it does lie in the hands of the younger generation. The huge network, for example with Fridays for Future activists, of young people pushing and demanding climate reform has had, and I believe will only continue to have, extremely impactful change. 

  • What’s next for you and The Ethos Network?

We want to make the app better, now that we have received such support for the idea. We would like to build it properly which is why we don’t want to rush into anything that could lead to any potential harm, however we are working hard on pushing new features out that could improve user experiences and ultimately lead to a positive social impact. 

  • Which advice would you give to the young people like you who want to be more active in tackling environmental and social issues?

For someone who has never been involved in activism, the thought can seem daunting. There are amazing pages to follow on current networks that communicate such important information about shared matters, and this is something I would recommend doing as the first step towards helping – being informed. Encouraging and initiating discussions is also key and it is why we feel the ETHOS app will have a positive impact; by normalising having these conversations on the widest scale, it will sub-consciously (or consciously!) reflect into our daily lives as we become more informed on how to make good change as individuals, and as a collective. I would encourage people to actively seek out information and have conversations with friends and family about environmental and social issues. 

Thanks a lot to Ali for engaging in this fascinating discussion about social issues! I think it’s a brilliant idea to have an online space where everyone can talk about shared matters! Normalising social issues plays a fundamental role in leading towards the best ways of tackling the problems they arise. As mentioned, being informed is a key first step to take in order to start being more active and become agents of change! 

Thanks again and good luck with your future!


Follow The Ethos Network on social media






and download the ETHOS app here

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