Call it engagement hacking.
But mobile developer teams from the one that built Facebook Slingshot to that guy behind the app ‘Yo’ app are tinkering with unconventional ways of making people interact.
With ephemerality and anonymity, it’s getting weirder. Maybe a little more conceptual. Maybe a little nonsensical. It’s hard to predict what will make people stick, or what could morph into the next version of Vine, Snapchat or Twitter.
But everyone’s experimenting.
Skout, an app backed by Andreessen Horowitz that helps strangers meet locally, is branching out with a new group messaging app called Fuse. It marries group messaging to ephemerality.
The hitch here is that once someone starts a ‘Fuse,’ everyone else has three to 10 minutes to respond. Once the timer ends, all of the content inside the ‘Fuse‘ disappears and no one can ever see it again. So it creates this pressure for a person to decide to either jump in right away or ignore it.
There’s also a Ghost mode, so people can respond anonymously.
“It’s almost like a dinner conversation,” said Skout CEO Christian Wiklund. “It’s contextual, based on who is around you right now. If the Fuse burns out, you can go onto the next conversation.”
Wiklund said they broke out the app separately because they didn’t want to bog down the core Skout experience with too many extra features. That’s a similar decision to what Facebook has done over the past year with new concepts like Paper and Messenger. Skout is an app that lets people connect with other strangers locally.
While the San Francisco-based company isn’t as flashy as some of its other mobile and social counterparts like Snapchat, it does have a revenue model through selling a virtual currency called ‘Points’ that can unlock other features. It has raised $22 million in funding from investors including Andreessen Horowitz. They plan to cross-promote Fuse through the Skout network.