Meet new people with Plane, a text-based app that lets you send ‘signals’

In the age of visual media, a small startup called Darling Dash is looking to go back to a simpler time, when our words and text were the primary means of communication. You’ll still get to use your smartphone, of course.

Plane, the “social icebreaker app,” launched globally yesterday, but had a soft launch in November last year in Copenhagen, Sweden, and various Scandinavian countries. Tim Allison, CEO of Darling Dash, told Digital Trends the app originally targeted expats who find it difficult to connect and find like-minded people in the city.

Essentially, you’re posting messages, or “signals,” out into the world that are semi-anonymous. It’s only semi-anonymous because you have to choose a username, that will be tied to your city, and most people tend to pick their first name. Once you send out a signal, anyone in the app can see them and respond. With the global launch came city filters, so you can tailor a signal to a particular city.

“We’ve also seen a variety of things — people asking for recommendations on Netflix for best documentaries to watch,” Allison said. “We found that there’s a lot of question-and-answer type dynamics going on within the signals themselves.”

Responses to signals are private, so only you will be able to see them. From there, you can start private conversations with people who have responded to your original signal. It’s pretty bare bones in what you can do for a messaging app — in that sending emojis and links are the most you can do.

But once you have established a connection of some sort, should you wish to learn more about the person you’re talking to, such as what they look like, you can swap “social cards.” It’s basically a small profile with your picture, name, city, and links to social handles like Facebook or Twitter.

Swapping social cards are important, especially because everything that happens in Plane disappears in 24 hours — even private conversations. There’s a timer to indicate how long you have left until your signal or conversation is gone.

Of course as with any app, a strong user base is a necessity for its growth — which is what Plane will need if people want to experience multiple signals from the cities they are in. Right now, there’s not too much going on in the New York City area.

Plane is free and available for iOS; Allison didn’t mention an Android app in the works.

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