Social media platforms don’t need to rely on advertisements and algorithms to generate revenue, Wesley Elder said — instead they can partner with brands and creators to create unique and authentic experiences.
The Jump, a Grandview-based social media platform focused on creating a positive space where users can bond over common interests, has kept its revenue-model in “stealth mode” since the startup’s beginnings in 2016 — until now, said Elder, who serves as executive director of product strategy for The Jump.
“It came time to execute our revenue model,” he said. “About a year ago, we had gotten in touch with some van life creators who we wanted to work with to build a community on our platform. We started brainstorming how we could work with influencers, but then also bring brands into something that’s more engaging than digital ads.”
Click here to read more about The Jump.
Why is it called ‘The Jump’?
After seeing that current social media needed to be remodeled, Peter McClung co-founded The Jump to help people connect both on the app and in person, he shared. “The Jump” is about embracing this culture change in social media and diving into communities with those who share similar interests.
“I wanted to take an approach that really valued individuals and the things they enjoy,” McClung previously told Startland News. “It’s striking when you look at some of the health effects of social media on people’s lives. A lot of the core problems with social media is how it’s been created to drive addiction, and in some ways, really just sell ads and make money.”
Their idea: GUTTED — a five-day event and reality TV competition series centered around teams of van life influencers coming together to renovate a van, RV or school bus. Teams are broken into seven individuals, and they have five days to complete their renovation. At the end of the event, judges will award first place to the best final product.
“We’re anticipating five episodes for our pilot year, and then we plan to do a full season next year,” Elder noted. “It’s also an event because we’re inviting all van lifers and those interested to hang out, see different panels of influences, attend different workshops and go camping in the Colorado mountains near the Great Sand Dunes.”
Shooting for GUTTED is set for Sept. 8-12 in Alamosa, Colorado.
Click here to purchase tickets for GUTTED.
The first four episodes of the GUTTED series are expected to premiere free on YouTube, with the series finale being exclusively uploaded to The Jump (which is free to download), Elder said.
“[GUTTED] was built with the intention of bringing community together on our platform; so, we’re doing a variety of things to encourage participants and viewers to use The Jump to connect,” he said. “For those who can’t attend the event, they can download the platform and get behind-the-scenes updates and be a part of daily giveaways and activities.”
At the end of the event, The Jump team plan to give away the renovated RV. Users can enter a raffle for the vehicle by joining the GUTTED group on the app.
“We’re doing a lot of different things to integrate The Jump with everything that we’re doing,” Elder noted. “And then we are integrating some of our brand partners and campaigns to help build the community as well.”
Elder and his team looked to partner with brands that organically paired with the van life community, he explained. One partner, Battle Born Batteries, creates lithium iron phosphate batteries that can power all the applications in a van or RV.
“Battle Born Batteries is thrilled to be a part of the first ever GUTTED,” said Kyle Moreno, a marketing specialist with Battle Born Batteries. “We’re excited to provide the power that breathes life into the ‘gutted’ vehicles and watch some of our favorite content creators build out these rigs. … This is going to be a special event and it is going to help educate and inspire a lot of people.”
Linnea Schmelzer, an influencer known for her van life travels with her German Shepard Akela, had never heard of The Jump when Elder and Adam Hairfield — who designs user interface and user experience with The Jump — reached out to her to be a part of GUTTED, she said.
“Adam and Wes were just so positive and cool when I got on the phone with them,” Schmelzer recalled. “To me, that conversation really set the tone for the whole event.”
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For Schmelzer, she chose to pursue solo van life to be immersed in the natural world, she shared, noting that her gratitude for life has increased greatly through the highs and lows of her journey. Although she is used to being on her own, she expressed enthusiasm for meeting others who share a similar lifestyle.
“I’m very much a loner in my van-life life, so this is one of the first events that I am willing to go to and be a part of, ” Schmelzer shared. “I am really excited because the people who Adam and Wes invited to be a part of this event seem really amazing. Many of the people in this community are awfully authentic.”
Other influencers who will be competing at GUTTED include: The Endless Adventure, Dualex, Tiny Home Tours, Elsa Rhae & Barron, Jarrod Tocci, Sunny Luna Living, Justin & Juby, Stephi Lee, The Matney’s, Summer Ginther, Regretlyss, Travis Sims, The Virtual Campground, Enigmatic Nomads and Bussy McBusface.