Introducing Digital Empathy

Its founders are calling it a social network with a social conscience. The Social Media Camp in Victoria last weekend saw the launch of TicTalking. Doug Campbell, Founder and Chief Creative Officer, described it as an interest-based social network.

Tic stands for Things in Common (Campbell’s Tics, for example, are acrylic and oil painting, doodling, architecture, pattern language, jazz, blues, golf and tennis).

“The idea is to get people around the world or around the block to connect based on commonality,” he said.  “Whether you’re a fly-fisher or a firefighter or a student writing a thesis, you’re joining a tribe – a tribe of millions or a tribe of 10.“

“We want to run this [first game] as a social experiment,” said Justine Yang, User Experience Designer for TicTalking. “We believe most people will give [the money] to charity, which is part of our mandate. We really believe people are interested in giving and that’s what makes people feel good about themselves.”It’s a people search engine – one supported with a language translation program so people around the world can connect without the barrier of language. Campbell calls it digital empathy and says that’s what will really make TicTalking tick.

“We’re creating a matrix of connection – and that’s what the planet really needs right now. The more we can connect with, understand and have empathy with other people the better off we’ll be as a species.”

It’s not just talk. Participants in TicTalking are automatically enrolled in the Giving Game. The more they participate in the network, the more virtual currency – called TicTalk Dough – they’ll earn that can be paid to charities. 

“We want to give the giving experience to everybody in the world – maybe people who haven’t given before,” said Campbell. “People love to give – it sends a message to the sub-conscious that ‘I matter’. It’s a fundamental part of TicTalk and it’s built into our DNA. So that’s why we call it a social network with a social conscious.”

To launch TicTalking, the network is running its first giving game. Participants who sign up at have through June 11 to try to garner the most social media attention. The winner will receive either $500 to keep or $2,000 to give to a charity.

The Victoria Foundation’s Communications director, Stephanie Slater, was at Social Media Camp and is participating in the Giving Game. A volunteer with one of the foundation’s hosted organizations – Jeremy Kimm of Rocky Point Bird Observatory – was at the camp and asked Stephanie to participate to support the small, volunteer-run bird observation and conservation charity.

If Stephanie wins, the $2,000 contribution from TicTalking will go to the endowment fund the Victoria Foundation hosts for Rocky Point. 

If you’re reading this on June 11, you can support her efforts by sharing this blog post (share buttons are at the top of this page) or sharing posts on Facebook or Twitter (@slslater or @vicfoundation) that mention Stephanie’s participation in the TicTalking game.

Rocky Point Bird Observatory website: