The solution for global social media overload could come from the mind of a Whangarei 18 year-old who is developing the technology to weed out unwanted notifications and change the face of modern communications.

Former Whangarei High student John Roy is only in his second year at Auckland University studying computers and commerce but established Allele in 2012, a techie company developing Exploron, a social media cloud-based app which aggregates all platforms onto one while removing the user's unwanted clutter.

"Social media is overwhelming and you have to trawl through so much to find what you want," he said.

The Kamo kid has developed prototype technology which takes all social networks, email and texts and brings them into one app.


"It understands the type of person you are by imitating your personality through artificial intelligence."

It also uses facial recognition, taking snap-shots of the user's face with their web cam while they browse through their app.

"This will be used to gauge the user's feelings while looking at content."

Of course, he said, there were some privacy issues which had to be worked through.

"Perhaps it will only [be] taking one or two snapshots and all with the user's consent, of course."

He said his own research found that social media was starting to "bring down people's days".

"The overwhelming amount of information can take from the enjoyment of social media. It's just a mess. People are switching off.

"Facial recognition software is not a new thing but we don't plan to develop it too heavily."

Another feature of the app would focus on a diary system with targeted advertising.

Allele was developing offspring solutions such as Plug, an enterprise mobile marketing platform built alongside Exploron.

"Let's say you send your friend a message to meet them at the gym at 3pm. The app would store the time and date in your calendar, and then just before your gym workout would offer you a recommendation to bring some Powerade. It won't be intrusive, just useful."

John works on the technology from college and also from his Grey Lynn flat.

"I was brought up using computers and have always taken an interest in it. Computing holds so much possibility, especially with web code which I discovered when I was younger. It's just magical turning lines of code into something useful."

When John was just 15, he created an online community for gamers.

"That never came to fruition but was a great learning experience."

He connected with the Icehouse business incubation centre in Auckland and began working with mentors who told him to set his sights and his technology on a new product.

He said his youth has not held him back but there was an attitude of prejudice.

"Investors just want to know that I can deliver the technology and as soon as they see that I know what I'm talking about, they're interested."

The techie developer had also kick-started a web design company Distill, which contracts the design to computer and design students.

"It's the ideal gateway for students to gain experience and clients to get innovative ideas without the ridiculous price."

He hoped to return to Whangarei where he would "like to make a difference" as the district lacked a "sense of urgency".

He said Whangarei needed a more collaborative approach by designers.