April 23, 2024

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Utah couple Richard and Brooke Lee recently launched the Dela app. Users can post messages, photos and videos as they would on traditional social media platforms, but the content is shared only within a private group.

Why Utah Couple’s New App Is Not Your Regular Social Media Platform

Utah couple Richard and Brooke Lee recently launched the Dela app. Users can post messages, photos, and videos as they would on traditional social media platforms, but the content is only shared within a private group. (Richard Lee)

Estimated reading time: 4-5 minutes

Farmington – Richard Lee remembers how chaotic the family group chat was.

Lee, the youngest of six children, said all of Lee’s siblings are married and have children, plus he and his wife have five children. At one point, he told me, the family group chat had 17 people, which led to sporadic notifications throughout the day and confusion about when to start certain conversations.

He and his wife, Brooke, began to wonder if there was a better way to keep in touch with family members. He told me that not everyone in their family is on social media, but they thought an easy-to-use interface like the one created by Instagram or Facebook might come in handy.

“If we can have something like Instagram or Facebook, but only with our family,[then]we can get out of the group chat, we can send pictures and share updates and news,” he told me.

He said that the more he and Brooke shared the idea, the more they realized other families were in the same boat. And so began Della.

In the past two years since their initial talks, Richard and Brooke Lee have hired a programming company in Utah to help them design, pilot, and formally launch the app on September 1.

Richard Lee explained that Dela is the Swedish word for “to share.” The free app is available on both apple And the The Google The platforms, “offer a private experience of group communication with a social media interface,” according to a press release. Users can post messages, photos, and videos as they would on traditional social media platforms, but the content is only shared within the private group. Each group also has access to a shared calendar to keep track of important dates and plan events.

While user numbers are currently small — only about 170 people have downloaded the app, Richard Lee said — Lees hopes Dela will grow.

“We just want to tell people about it so they can start using it and get benefit from it as well,” Richard Lee said.

“least intrusive” communication

Utah couple Brooke and Richard Lee recently launched the Dela app.  Users can post messages, photos, and videos as they would on traditional social media platforms, but the content is only shared within a private group.
Utah couple Brooke and Richard Lee recently launched the Dela app. Users can post messages, photos, and videos as they would on traditional social media platforms, but the content is only shared within a private group. (Photo: Richard Lee)

He told me that neither he nor his wife had any kind of technological background. He said they grew up in the Cache Valley, and have lived in Davis County for the past seven years; He works at a private equity investment firm while Brooke was in the medical technology field before choosing to stay home with their children full time.

So when they got serious about creating an app, they knew they would need some help. He told me that Leighton-based Guru Technologies handled the coding while he and Brooke decided what it should look like, how it should work, and other key features.

“We decided to invest in it and bring the idea to life, but we didn’t do any of the coding or developing ourselves,” he told me.

By the summer of 2021, they were using a “very rough prototype” with their families, Lee said, and kept developing it until they felt confident putting it into app stores.

He told me that the app’s groups are by invitation only and the groups are not searchable; Users must either be invited directly to a group by someone they know or create a group themselves.

“So it’s not really social media in the sense that you go out and make new connections with new people that you don’t know,” he said. “This is really an app for connecting with people who are already known to you.”

He also stressed that Della is not meant to be as draining or time consuming as traditional social media sometimes.

He told me, “We’re not trying to make this an addiction. We’re not trying to get people to go back to it five times a day. We’re not trying to get people to buy things out there.” “We really want it to be a tool that helps people rather than a tool that attracts and burns people. … We think this makes it unique unlike other social media that (have) only new content all the time.”

Brooke Lee added that her favorite feature is the shared calendar. She said that notifications for events such as birthdays and anniversaries can be set to recur annually, and this makes coordinating family events a lot easier.

“[It’s]a really fun way to remember all those dates when your family is getting older and older,” she said.

Richard Lee said future plans for Dela include continuing to simplify its design and feature building; But the main functionality of the app will always be about creating small private groups to share content and messages with.

“Maybe this is a less intrusive or less annoying way to connect with people you know,” he said.

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