Once upon a time it was considered cringeworthy or ‘sub social’ to use online dating websites and applications in order to meet other people. Then the social networking crazy truly took off with Mark Zuckerberg creating Facebook and the rest was history. Now we socialize more through the internet than we do in real life, at least if you fit the age demographic that populates the majority of websites like Facebook. In order to latch on to the craze and give people more of what they wanted Christian Wiklund and Nik Lindstrom got in on the action.
Wiklund and Lindstrom knew that social networking was the future back in 2007 when they joined forces in order to create ‘Skout’. Skout itself is the name of their company and also the name of their biggest program, a social networking application that focuses on anonymous connections and the possibility of blooming romance. The application hit full stride back in 2012 upon receiving $22 million in venture capital from some pretty big names in the tech world, including the former vice chair of AOL. That investment money turned into an iOS app and an Android app that soon had the company going toe to toe with other social networking giants.
At this point in time Skout has a user base of almost 500 million people. With a grid system of anonymous users as the home page, Skout members are actively encouraged to hook up and connect with random people all over the world. Skout has the option to put on geo tagging which keeps members on your home page restricted to specific cities or local areas. In any event, Skout encourages users to interact via chat, digital gifts, and even picture sharing. The system focuses more on new interactions rather than continuing old ones alas Facebook or Myspace.
With Skout firmly entrenched in the publics pockets the company is pushing forward to focus on a program like Fuse. Fuse is going to operate much like Snapchat but use some of Skouts functionality in order to make it work. Fuse focuses on a minimalist design that allows users to share messages via their address book on their phone or tablet. These messages can be prescribed ‘auto burn’ counters which destroy the message ‘3, 5, or 10 minutes’ after being opened. There is also the option to have the message delete itself forever.
Fuse focuses on keeping interactions grounded in real life with users attached to their cell phone. There are no profile pictures and no real friends list, just your address book. The application itself is free and available for download via iTunes or the Google Play store. The big hook in this application, versus what Snapchat already does, is that it keeps everything grounded in existing relationships. You won’t be added by random strangers on the internet and only people with a phone number will be able to interact with you. It’s a nifty and frugal look at safe on the go messaging.