People already use social media to boast about their children. Babies clog up news feeds to the point that some people get so annoyed they invent apps like Unbaby.me to avoid seeing cooing newborns every time they log on.
So it sounds pretty genius that an Oslo-based start-up created a social networking app for iOS called Oogababy specifically tailored to new parents – they call it “the Instagram of babies,” and it has potential as a social network-slash-digital baby book for communities of excited parents.
So what exactly is Oogababy? For starters, it’s primarily meant for parents. “Oogababy provides a private community with parent-focused features for journalizing, growth tracking and socializing,” CEO Gunnar Wold explains, emphasizing that privacy is paramount when it comes to making a social network focused on babies. “Privacy is default and for now it is not possible to add other friends then who you are already friends with on Facebook. We are planning to add more possibilities for log in and ‘friend requests’ in the future.”
Right now, Oogababy has around 5,000 users, so it’s still a small service, with an appealing intimacy for groups of new parents who want to share baby stuff in a supportive environment. In addition to sharing photos, the app comes with a lot of baby-specific features, like a service that tracks and predicts your baby’s growth and development.
So should aunts, uncles, and friends of young parents also sign up, or is it really just a for-parents-by-parents environment? Wold says that non-parents can technically sign up, and there’s no reason why they can’t, but that Oogababy is really more appropriate for parents since many of its features are baby-centric (seriously, if you’re just signing up to look at pictures of babies you don’t know … well that’s a whole other, very creepy thing). The company is making a second product, however: “Our next product will be a fully digital baby-book which will provide a different user experience and be more suitable to use for family and friends. This product is currently in the works.”
Given the flood of content on mass platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Tumblr, the idea of niche social networks is gaining steam. Also considering how popular mommy blogs and parenting forums are, Oogababy could serve as a fascinating way for new parents to stay connected and go even deeper in discussion and sharing about their children without isolating members of their social networks that don’t share the same kind of lifestyle. There’s only one potential roadblock: The fact that you’re limited to adding your Facebook friends currently limits the app, since you’d have to have a fairly robust roster of Facebook contacts who also have children to have a friend list worthy of using the app. That’s why the second stage of product (the digital baby-book) will be an important way to draw non-parents into the fold.