Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 14 seconds

beam“As long as people are talking to each other face to face we can build a better tomorrow,” entrepreneur and inventor Andrew Zenoff told me. Zenoff took this idea and founded BEAM Authentic- the first social network that blurs the boundaries of the Internet into the real world.

By having a physical component in the form of a smart button combined with an app, users can quite literally wear their heart on their sleeve. “I wanted to deliver a platform that would help join people together that would foster a connection and conversation in the real world,” Zenoff continued. Essentially, BEAM is a conversation starter, an icebreaker, a way for humans to promote the issues they care most about while starting a dialogue.

In Use:
BEAM Authentic is a tool that activists can use to draw attention to their cause. With BEAM Authentic, they can use the BEAM Authentic app to design how their button will look as well as which cause they choose to “Beam” to others. If there is more than one cause they care about they can create a slideshow. They can choose to use a nonprofit’s official design or create one of their own using the BEAM app. Once they are done they can “beam” their picture or logo to their smart button for family, friends, and strangers to see.

Before a user purchases a physical BEAM they must take the “3 Stripe Pledge” which can be seem on the Smart Button themselves. The red stripe stands for ending discrimination and violence; Green is to keep an open mind, and Blue is to always act with compassion and respect. On their website, BEAM Authentic proclaims that they “intend to weave intentional conversation, understanding, connection, and meaningful action into the fabric of our daily lives.”

While any nonprofit organization can create a button in the BEAM app, BEAM themselves partner with three charities; Amnesty International; WE.org; and  charity: water. In fact $3 of every smart button that’s purchased goes to one of these three charities. Now that’s not to say other nonprofit organizations cannot get involved. Any nonprofit can download the BEAM act and create a virtual button that their smart button wearing donors can later BEAM on their person. Users can go as far as to donate to a charity on the BEAM app in connection with WePay.

Ease of Use:
Pairing the smart button with the online app may seem daunting, but with easy to comprehend instructions, users will be beaming in no time. Users can use the app’s design tool to create, upload, and experiment with their button of choice. If a user wants to donate to a charity they can do so without ever leaving the app.

Technology Used:
While users can just use the app itself, it really coincides with the smart button. The smart button can be purchased on BEAM Authentic’s website with a price tag of $99. This includes the choice of a white or black smart button; two magnetic attachment set; a micro USB cable. The app is free and can be downloaded on all androids and the iPhone.

Recap:
A BEAM device is a smart button that users can wear to show off the charities and nonprofit organizations that they support. The Smart Button is a conversation starter at a party, school function, or work giving a social activist the chance to speak about the issues that mean the most to them. Users control what is beamed out on their button. They can upload pictures, use pictures that others have already uploaded, or design their own. Nonprofits can create a design for their cause and donors can BEAM it out to the physical world. In a world where free advertising is hard to come by- this is a chance for nonprofits to get their message to the masses without ever having to leave their office.

Advantages:

  • The smart button is a sleek design that comes in either white or black.

  • Great way for donors to showcase their cause and start conversations with people about a particular nonprofit organization

  • Free advertisement for nonprofits and charities

  • Nonprofits can update relevant content to the smart button and push it to their backers

  • Donors can donate to an organization without having to leave the app

  • Disadvantage:

  • Each Smart Button is $99

  • Those that are using the smart button are not necessarily using it to promote a nonprofit or charity.


  • My Opinion:
    As you can see from the list above, there are many more advantages than disadvantages to BEAM Authentic. This smart button has the ability to introduce a small charity to hundreds of people for free. Not to mention that nonprofits can chose what content they share.

    While $99 does sound daunting to most charities and nonprofits- it’s not necessarily the nonprofit organization who are buying these buttons- it’s their donors and volunteers who are. For the social activist or nonprofit that wants one but may not necessarily be able to afford one- the holidays are just around the corner and can make a great gift.





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    Danielle Loughnane

    Danielle Loughnane earned her B.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College and has currently been working in the data science field since 2015. She is the author of a comic book entitled, “The Superhighs” and wrote a blog from 2011-2015 about working in the restaurant industry called, "Sir I Think You've Had Too Much.” In her spare time she likes reading graphic novels and snuggling with her dogs.

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