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At Toucan we are committed to improving our users’ mental health. As a social platform, we understand the duty that we have to our users and hosts to make sure that the environment we’re offering is safe and conducive to supportive conversations.
In this article, we explain how we built Toucan (both the tool and our company) with mental health in mind.
On this World Mental Health Day, we would like to extend our support and love to everyone who finds themselves struggling with their mental health, has struggled with it in the past, or who's an ally to others. And to everyone out there who's doing well right now, we're here for you, too!
One of our greatest honors here at Toucan is the ability to bring communities together so that people feel connected and seen, no matter where in the world they may be. We do not take this responsibility for granted and will continue to be there for you, bringing you closer to the people in your life.
Everyone knows that there are plenty of benefits to using videoconferencing tools, and we have addressed a few of them in other articles we’ve written.
These types of tools contribute to increasing people’s digital proficiency. They make the far away seem closer, and they make education and entertainment accessible to everyone. If used correctly and mindfully, they can work wonders at fostering a sense of community.
Despite the usefulness of videoconferencing software, there have been some concerns raised regarding their impacts on people’s mental health.
"Zoom fatigue" is named after a popular video conferencing platform. But it isn’t exclusive to Zoom, as it can take place on any traditional video conferencing platform: Skype, Slack, Microsoft Teams, you name it.
Video call fatigue is often associated with stiff and productivity-driven work meetings. Even if you use these tools to have more “social calls,” it will make you feel tired and drained in the end.
We are committed to creating a place that’s built specifically to be the antithesis of those boxy video platforms. And using principles of social psychology, we’ve incorporated features that make our users feel good. That’s our mission. 🎯
One of the reasons why we are so tired after hours of video calls is the constant lookout for visual cues - non-verbal communication. Those are super important in social interactions. Because those boxy video conferencing platforms don’t have effective ways for us to communicate non-verbally, we have to exaggerate our reactions and work much harder to understand others.
We want our users to be able to express emotions and utilize more real-life “signs,” like raising their hands to talk, clapping, and even sending some virtual love. That’s why we have our emoticon feature - 👋🧡.
Another staple of video conferencing platforms that drains us of way more energy than we’re aware of: self-view. For many of us, looking at ourselves on video calls is distracting and/or anxiety-provoking.
Feeling self-conscious about our looks and our mannerisms does us no good. In real life, we never really see ourselves while we’re chatting with others. That allows us to focus entirely on the person or people in front of us. This is exactly why we built our “hide self-view” feature. You can elect to not see yourself on Toucan calls, while others still see your lovely face just the same.
By restricting ourselves to a stiff rectangle, we are limiting our capacity to think and speak freely. That’s why on Toucan we don’t go for the standard square and rectangle frames - our round bubbles make everything feel less stiff. Plus, circles are simply friendlier shapes.
The way that you’re able to move from group to group makes you feel free. The dynamism of the platform makes it feel like everyone is in the same room together, and it gives you full agency over where you go and who you talk to. If you’re someone who prefers smaller, more intimate groups, you can join those. If you like to be in a bigger cluster, go for it. It’s all up to you.
Part of our mental health commitment is a pledge to support others out there who are dedicating their lives to helping others.
If you are an NGO, support group, or a networking community centered around the topic of mental health, please reach out to us (email@example.com). We would love to help you and your community members thrive as much as possible. We would be delighted to help you put on a virtual event for your group, and we’re also happy to give you our nonprofit discount.
Toucan’s Homepage - here.
How does Toucan feel? It feels GREAT. But you can experience it here, without creating an account.
Questions? We might have the answers for them here.
If you can’t find an answer, just send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking for help with planning and executing your event? Our Toucan Producer is here to help! Send her an email: email@example.com.
Want some more tips & ideas? Head over to our blog. It’s fun!
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Sara knows some things about marketing, has 3 cats, loves to go for hikes and organize things by color!
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