Snapchat may have been the first app to popularize the idea of disappearing messages, but Sobrr has bigger plans: the new mobile social network is built to help you “life live in the moment” and that means everything from photos to updates to comments have a 24-hour shelf life. Whether it’s an ill-judged drunken boast or or sweet shot of your cat, it’ll vanish within a day.
The man behind Sobrr is ex-LinkedIn engineer Bruce Yang, and naturally the idea came to him the morning after a bachelor party. “Sobrr is the morning after pill after a night of craziness,” he told Re/code. “We want to help people stay sober online, while they have all kinds of craziness offline.”
So how does that affect the 10,000 users currently experimenting with the app on iOS? Firstly, it encourages people to share more, because anything that’s posted will quickly disappear. Secondly, it tempts users into checking Sobrr more often, as there’s a chance they could miss something that’s happening. You can “cheer” posts (the equivalent of a Facebook Like), add comments, and tag your friends, as well as send private one-to-one messages.
Even friendships can be temporary: add a couple of new pals at a party and you can quickly ditch them after 24 hours if you later regret your choice and want to cut all ties. With $1 million venture funding in the pipeline, Sobrr’s developers are hoping to get another boost in user numbers once the college year starts again.
Sobrr doesn’t offer a great deal more than Snapchat and may well disappear itself without so much as a whimper; but it’s an interesting example of how social networking is becoming more ephemeral and more location-aware, particularly among young users. Perhaps Facebook will once again have to get its wallet out to stay relevant.
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