As people on social media become increasingly aware of their illusory lives on Facebook, the new social networking app Sobrr promises one of reality’s greatest assets—forgetting.
On Sobrr, everything expires in 24 hours. Photos go out to others in a geographical region just once, and people on the network can either cheer, comment, or follow one another as “24 hour friends,” unless both parties choose to “keep” the connection.
“Sobrr encourages users to go out and live in the moment,” says its founder, Bruce Yang. “The fact that everything will disappear soon keeps the user engaged with things in the present.”
Like other ideas worth pursuing, Sobrr was forged in the aftermath of a Vegas bachelor party. After a night straight from The Hangover, Yang and his groomsmen awoke in their hotel room and immediately rushed to their social media accounts to delete every trace of whatever had happened the night before. Every picture, post, chat, and new friend had to vanish before the wedding.
After this incident, the 26-year-old founder and former software engineer for LinkedIn began to seriously reconsider the state of social media .
“By leaving a record in the social network,” Yang realized, “people are constantly living in and are reminded of the past. They’re obligated to create a positive, presentable online image. Instead of carrying out their conversations and enjoying their life in the moment, they are forced to put up a face.”
His solution was to create a more realistic social platform where conversations and friendships are ephemeral and experiences are shared only while they’re actually happening. While most other social networks manipulate our relationship with time and space, Sobrr defies only one of those variables — space.
Imagine going out on a Friday night. You get on Sobrr, snap a few pictures, and browse through “vibing” photos taken by others in your city. You may even chat with a few and add friends to keep up with for the night. By Saturday, like real life, everything has passed, and the only thing left is the friendships that both parties agreed to “keep.”
“The 24 hour friendship is such an intuitive concept that all the current social networks have overlooked,” says Yang. “In real life, people socialize with others but only make friends with who they like.”
Sobrr offers a newborn idea in a market full of ideas. Having only launched June 24, the eight-person company is focusing its marketing efforts on San Francisco for the moment.
“User acquisition for any social networking app is difficult,” Yang recognizes. “We’re experimenting with different strategies, and would like to share our philosophy with as many people as we can.”
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