Many people dread being summoned for jury duty. The stuffy courtroom, the drawn out cases, and all those missed days of work. But, in the virtual courtroom of JabberJury, being a juror is actually fun and rewarding.
Launching in February, JabberJury is a new website where people can air and settle conflicts, using a jury of their peers and the world at large. Anyone with a gripe or dilemma can go on the site and upload a video stating their case. Each party in the dispute is given equal opportunity to defend against their opponent’s arguments with opening statements, rebuttals and closing arguments. Both sides can then invite friends to become “JabberJurors” who vote for a winner and collectively decide the outcome, along with anyone else visiting the site who wants to weigh in.
Unlike real court proceedings, JabberJury’s resolution process is designed to be fun, and is what Co-Founders Kevin Wielgus and Angelo Rago like to call “conflictainment.” Says Rago, “It’s human nature to eavesdrop on the couple arguing one table over at a restaurant. Every good story has a hero, a villain and a conflict. And we all have an opinion. Whether it’s a squabble between spouses over what color to paint the kitchen, cubicle-mates who can’t agree on a radio station, or roommates who fight over food, JabberJury’s pool of conflict is endless, and entertaining.”
Litigating parties who want to strengthen their case can invite witnesses and submit evidence, just like in a real trial. JabberJurors can use all this support to better decide who they think is right or wrong. They can also try to sway fellow jurors by posting opinionated comments, (aka “outbursts”) in the court, or they can “heckle” just for fun.
In case the sheer satisfaction of being right is not enough, JabberJury also rewards users with points or “Jabbies”. If someone posts a case and wins, they earn these special credits, as does any JabberJuror who voted for the winning side. Users also get Jabbies for inviting friends to join JabberJury. Jabbies can be redeemed for prizes, or can even be donated to charity. Rago notes that such features like the outbursts and Jabbies help “make it into a game. It’s friendly competition, where everyone competes for bragging rights, higher status levels, and Jabbies.”
Though JabberJury’s main purpose is entertainment, it does offer some socially redeeming benefits. “This is a great forum to start conversations and seek out other opinions to learn if you’re alone or extreme in your viewpoint,” says JabberJury CEO and Co-Founder Wielgus. “Let’s say a teenage girl wants to stay out late like all her friends, but her mom forbids it. The girl can argue her case for how ‘everyone’s doing it’, while Mom can rebuttal and gauge how other parents feel about the subject. Inviting the collective wisdom of hundreds, or even millions of site users is a far better way to resolve the conflict than just screaming, ‘Because I said so!’”
Wielgus and Rago came up with the idea for JabberJury one night after Rago had an argument with his former girlfriend that Wielgus and his wife witnessed. She later sent Rago numerous scathing texts criticizing his behavior. Rago says, “It was frustrating to me knowing that she was probably already telling her friends how upset she was with me and that they were all unfairly passing judgment on me”. Wielgus adds, “they weren’t even there so they only had one side of the story. My wife and I saw the whole thing and knew Angelo was right.” Rago adds, “So often, friends are asked to weigh in on disagreements but they seldom hear both sides. Now, with the rise of social media, we realized there was an opportunity to create a venue for people to air both sides of their conflict in front of an even broader audience to figure out who’s right. Why not let the whole world decide?”
JabberJury’s teaser site launched recently, and allows users to see and vote on a JabberJury Case of the Day. The full website with video uploading capabilities will be up and running, “in time for all your Valentines arguments,” says Wielgus.
For more information about JabberJury, visit www.jabberjury.com.