Although it may seem hard to believe now, the social media boom did not start with Facebook. While Mark Zuckerberg’s grasp on social media may now seem on breakable, sharing personal information about yourself online, with friends, first kicked off in around 1997 when Six Degrees – a vanguard of the social media movement – first launched. The boom arguably began in 2003, one year before Facebook’s inception, with the launch of MySpace and, surprisingly, LinkedIn.We will get to meet Sup, the hangout app in a bit.
Now, more than 12 years after the initial boom, social networking sites seem to dominate our lives. There are photo platforms; video platforms; music platforms and even – as is the case of DADA NYC – artistic platforms that encourage conversation to take place through the medium of art.
The supremacy of social media, as we know, is utterly undeniable. By 2018 it is estimated that 2.55 billion people will use at least some form of social media platform. Driven by the easy access that is afforded by mobile apps, social media continues to boom with no plateau as yet in sight.
Other apps and platforms have taken popular formats that already exist and built them up for a different or undeserved audience. For example, EyeCandy follows the ever popular example set by Instagram (the photo platform boasts 300 million monthly users) but caters for a more mature audience.
Where Instagram takes a conservative/family approach to risque photos, EyeCandy actively encourages them, something the founders hope will help them carve out their own niche. Similarly, PhoBack combines Instagram-style image sharing with the #ThrowBack Thursday trend, to help users document their most nostalgic photos of times spent with their friends and family.
And it’s not just about apps moving towards older audiences, either. Goodwall serves high school students as a LinkedIn-esque platform to help them impress their favorite universities and colleges the whole world over. The app caters for a younger audience than LinkedIn, but shares many of the same goals, i.e., boosting their educational and career prospects.
Meet Sup, the hangout app – Recently, in 2015, former Google marketer Rich Pleeth founded Sup, an app that alerts you – in as non stalkery way as possible – when friends are near you. Like Facebook, Sup has initially targeted a student audience. However what makes Sup different is that it is also trying to get people off their smartphones and talking in real life.
Available for free on the iPhone and Apple Watch, Sup’s platform works like a friend radar, notifying users when a friend is within a 5, 15 or 25-minute walk of their location. The app’s new Hang Out feature – launched just a few weeks ago – makes it even easier for friends to connect with each other in person, when they are out and about, shopping, waiting for their next meeting or class.
Pleeth, says, “Social networks are great but they actually make you more anti social as you spend more time staring at screens instead of actually connecting you with your friends in the real world.
“One of the reasons Sup is so popular with students, for example, is its natural spontaneity. It works with how we are as people. They get bored of studying, turn on the app, see who’s on campus, and tap the Hang Out button to make these meetings happen just like that.”
Meet Sup, the hangout app!