Private sharing is a relatively new concept in the mobile digital world. To date, the emphasis has been around building networks, collecting ‘friends’ and accumulating digital contacts to share things with.
The start of the 2012 has seen smaller, more meaningful networks emerge. Earlier last year Path and Google dipped their toes in the water but it’s the recent rise in popularity of Apps like Cupple, Duet and the recently launched Pair that signify a change is coming. The network of just 2 people makes as much sense online as it does in life, certainly for many couples. Our most significant adult relationship surely comes with our partner; the person we share the journey with closest.
Cupple is a mobile app for iPhone that launched last year and has received various plaudits from the US, most notably The Wall Street Journal who recognised that Cupple puts a ‘welcome premium on privacy’. Designed for just 2 people in a relationship to share moments when they’re apart and identify places they want to go, Cupple cleverly harnesses a powerful network and delivers a simple solution.
This distilling of our social network and online life is a natural progression. Our lives become more refined as we make decisions around how we spend our time and who with. The role of our friends evolves to a quality over quantity arrangement; we spend time and share most with those who mean the most to us.
These methods of using social networks for more grown up exchanges makes perfect sense when you align them with the real world. Facebook has a teenage feel to it and perhaps that’s where it’ll always be best suited. It’s a flurry of events, likes, links and ads leaving the users not quite sure why they’re using it but unable to pull themselves away from it. But the first Facebook generation is growing up.
One can feel a groundswell of change. The smart money and time is in the refinement of bigger ideas and established platforms. Facebook won’t be caught and their recent acquisition of Instagram highlights the fact even further. Perhaps the change in trend is in not trying to light up the room in one go but simply putting a candle on a table for people to sit down at. Allowing users to express themselves together in smaller circles, with no fear of ex classmates or people they met for fifteen minutes listening in and commenting on the conversation.
Private sharing and intimate networks facilitate a new kind of online publishing and expression. A place where the indecision around sharing broadly to big groups is taken away and creates a timeline to truly be part of.
Mobile products need to be more thoughtful and mindful of the people using them. As Facebook becomes a social scrapbook of lives gone by, a space has emerged for new products to reflect the way we live our life tomorrow.
'Love shines a Light' by Tim Allison, Cupple CEO & CO Founder appeared in The Journal, Tech Notes section on April 26th.