TODAY.AZ / Weird / Interesting

New app calls you to leave virtual world

22 August 2014 [14:35] - TODAY.AZ
What would you do if you only had one day to live? Probably not spend time downloading and fiddling with a mobile app, we're guessing.

But a new app, Sobrr, wants you to embrace life in just that way. It lets you create a social network geared toward meeting new people around you, sharing photos and videos of what you're up to and supporting other users who are also living it up. Or whatever.

Using GPS, Sobrr identifies other users close to you and shows them your posts. They may then "cheer" or comment on those posts and, if both parties agree, they can become "24-hour friends." There's an option for users who hit it off to make each other permanent parts of their network.

The kicker is that, anything you do using the app is totally erased after 24 hours. Texts you send to other users disappear after a few seconds and photos or videos you share can go away nearly as quickly.

The app's co-founder, Bruce Yang, says that in an era when your third-grade teacher can find you on Facebook and anyone you've ever met at work wants to network on LinkedIn, people are craving an app like Sobrr. It lets them share without worrying their actions will go down on their permanent record.

"It promotes sharing only the most refreshing contents and leading a casual relationship with no strings attached," said Yang, an alum of Fitbit, LinkedIn and Microsoft.

So, you can call Sobrr the anti-Facebook. But if you want to call it Tinder meets Snapchat meets Foursquare, you wouldn't be that far-off either.

The app's name reflects the moment the idea first dawned on Yang -- the morning after a Las Vegas bachelor party. He says he noticed all of his fellow partyers rushing onto their social media accounts to make sure they hadn't shared any incriminating info about the previous night.

No, Yang says, his app isn't just another tool for the hookup culture or a way to send naughty photos without having to answer for them later. But if somebody wants to use it that way? He's not here to stop them.

"From the party animals that I've surveyed, more than half admitted that they want to meet new people in the party, and crave for a one-night stand," he said.

Sobrr lets users post content "that they might otherwise feel too embarrassed to post on other platforms," he said. Yang also said it's important for users "to have their own space and little secrets."

But he maintains that "naughty stuff" is only a small part of what users have been sharing in the month since the app's release.

"We understand that 'hooking up' is the need of many users on the platform, but we really value more of the casual interaction and conversation on the platform -- the foreplay of hooking up," he said. "People are more attracted by each other based on their life moments or a common interest."

It's possible the Silicon Valley startup is onto something. In the past year or so, ephemeral messaging apps such as Snapchat, Confide and Wickr have flourished.

So far, the app's user base remains relatively small, boasting 10,000 users in the weeks it's been available exclusively for Apple's mobile devices. Whether more folks will flock to it to live a more carefree social media life, or merely hide the evidence from their wild nights out, remains to be seen.



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