The new app seeks something less stressful, more meaningful

By Kathleen Phillips

Rowan El-Bialy jots down some lines in her notebook. She said that she has to be careful with what she posts on social media because some competitions deny entrance to poetry that has already been published. Poetizer is a way for poets to publish themselves and gain attention without going through traditional publishing structures. /KATHLEEN PHILIPS

Poetizer, a new social media platform for posting and sharing poetry, is looking to be the next big thing for millennials at a time when social media is coming under increased scrutiny.

Facebook is receiving backlash for its involvement in the 2016 United States presidential election and Gab, the radical free speech social media site, is making headlines for giving a platform to the alt-right. The question is, do social media platforms have a responsibility to protect users from harmful content and exploitation?

Poetizer is designed to be minimalist so that the words speak for themselves. The clean background is meant to be an alternative to image-heavy traditional social media. /KATHLEEN PHILIPS

“Poetizer is creating a space for poetry lovers across the globe that share the same desires and values, like freedom of speech, authenticity and the love of poetry,” said Lukáš Sedláček, co-founder of Poetizer.

Poetizer is trying to maintain a safe environment on their platform in two ways. They have people checking the app daily to flag content, and users have the same ability. Poetizer also has the right to block users who post problematic content.

“Creating a safe space for our users is one of our priorities,” said Sedláček. “Poetry is a very intimate form of self-expression and we want everyone to feel safe and welcome.”

Poetizer plans to introduce software that will be able to scan and remove problematic content more efficiently.

Rowan El-Bialy, a local poet, thinks strict community standards are important.

“I like that more traditional forms of poetry are regulated, kind of like an open mic,” said 27-year-old. “There’s someone keeping people in check, so no one is saying anything too racist or homophobic.”

Poetizer’s minimalist design is meant to showcase written words and posters are allowed to remain anonymous.

Rowen El-Bialy scrolls through the online version of Poetizer. She doesn’t think she will use the site but hopes it opens poetry to a broader audience. /KATHLEEN PHILLIPS

“I think there is something to be said for spaces for poetry that are more experimental, or that wouldn’t fit with orthodox ideas of what poetry is supposed to look like,” said El-Bialy

She sees Poetizer as a way to spread poetry’s appeal to the general public, but worries that it might harm poets who write and perform for a living.

“I would hate for users of this platform to think they are entitled to poetry for free. People think [poets] should be doing it out of passion, but they also need to pay the bills.”

By agreeing to the terms and conditions, users give Poetizer the right to use and repackage all poetry on their site. This policy is not exclusive to Poetizer; Facebook also has the right to use content posted on its platform.

Poetizer is currently available in English, Spanish and Čeština and plans to add a French option before the end of the year.