For those of you too young to remember, Facebook wasn’t always open to everyone. When Zuckerberg first created the social media platform, it was only accessible via a .edu email address given to college students. As it grew in popularity, it became more reasonable to open it up to everyone – and as its users have grown up, many younger generations now are using it less. Platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat provide many of the same functions as Facebook, without the annoying bits.
Now, a young app developed named Michael Sayman wants to bring that same functionality back to the younger generations. At just 19 years old, having built his first app at just 13, Sayman is well familiar with trends and wants of the current high school generation. He’s built Lifestage, “Facebook’s new video-centric app for iOS that connects high school students with others from their school.”
As Mashable puts it, “Rather than profile photos, the app uses a series of selfies where users can show off their ‘faces.’ Users record videos to show off what they like and dislike and who their friends, pets, boyfriends and girlfriends are.” There’s no messaging features or one-to-one interactions though, so users have to link whatever their preferred app is for that purpose.
Sayman was inspired by the original 2004 version of Facebook which encouraged users to share information like their schools, relationship status, likes and dislikes and other personal details, rather than fill up a bloated newsfeed with event invites, memes and such.
“This mechanic is cool, I liked this concept of being able to see people’s profiles in my school communities and see who they were all about,” Sayman tells Mashable. “What if we were to grab what Facebook from 2004 was and bring it to 2016 and bring it into what we’ve been trying to understand with video and content creation.”
Like the original Facebook, Lifestage is also restricted to certain users – high schoolers. The mechanics of that restriction weren’t gleaned in the Mashable story, and most high schoolers aren’t given personal email addresses, so we’re pretty curious about that. And without enforceable exclusivity, there’s the possibility for abuse and fraud from predatory users on the app.
Still, if done correctly, and it actually catches on, Lifestage could become the next big social media contender.