Though the social media landscape is dominated by a few major players, consumers still seem to want something new and different. Just look at TikTok.
Today, a new social app is launching. Called Friended, it is taking an altogether different strategy when it comes to connecting people online. Friended was started by Thumb co-founder and CEO Dan Kurani and Ben Chow, Friended wants to give users a deeper and more meaningful connection to one another, which the company believes they crave.
On Friended, users can post to the community about what they're thinking or feeling. But rather than catalyze a "town hall"-style group conversation, members of the community can respond privately to that post, offering their insights, anecdotes or advice.
The idea is to give people a chance to share how they really feel in a vulnerable, one-to-one setting. In playing around with the app, I had conversations with people about how to make friends in NYC and why it sometimes feel like others don't care about us as much as we care about them.
Anyone can respond to a thread, and comments on threads can be liked by the poster or respondent, but from the moment a response comes through, that conversation is one-on-one and private.
"People feel more lonely now than ever before," said Kurani. "Part of the blame is the social media algorithms that only promote people’s highlights for more ad impressions. It’s isolating to see everyone’s happy moments, and, then get silence when you share something vulnerable. But, it's also just plain hard to open up and share your feelings because of the pressure to be perfect."
Because Friended wants to be a place where you always have someone to talk to, the company has eliminated ads as a possible revenue stream. Instead, the company is working to implement a premium tier.
Right now, users can only post a conversation starter every eight hours. The premium tier, which costs $4.99/week, allows users to post as frequently as they want, and also includes a few other premium features, like the ability to talk to people in your location.
Friended has raised a $500K seed round from investors such as Jonah Goodhart, Dr. Lara Otte, Jared Fliesler and Bobby Goodlatte. Though the company won't disclose monthly active user numbers, it did say that it has 500,000 registered users with an average of 11 sessions per day per active user during its beta. More than 2.5 million messages were sent last month.