Tech

Noplace: A New Era of Social Networking for Gen Z

Introduction

Aiming to bring the “social” back to “social media,” a new app called Noplace has surged to the top of the App Store as it launched out of invite-only mode on Wednesday. Designed to appeal to a younger crowd — or anyone who wants to connect with friends or around shared interests — Noplace is like a modern-day Myspace with its colorful, customizable profiles that allow people to share everything from relationship status, to what they’re listening to or watching, what they’re reading or doing, and more.

Noplace

A Nostalgic Twist for Modern Users

Boding well for its potential in the often-difficult consumer social market, Noplace had already gone viral ahead of its public launch because of its feature that allows users to express themselves by customizing the colors of their profile. Though Gen Z may not have grown up with Myspace and all its chaotic customizations, there’s still a sense of nostalgia for a social networking experience they never had.

“I think that part of the magical, fun part of the internet is gone now. Everything is very uniform,” says founder and CEO Tiffany Zhong, who previously founded her own early-stage consumer fund, Pineapple Capital, and, in her teens, worked at Binary Capital, helping them source early-stage consumer deals. Having played with every consumer social app over the past decade, Zhong has a good eye for the next big hit. She flagged Musical.ly in 2015 as the startup that would become the next Snap or Twitter, for instance, after realizing how much traction it had with kids and other younger users.

A Vision for True Social Interaction

Zhong’s insights into the social media landscape have shaped the development of Noplace. She often tweeted her product insights and analysis, particularly about consumer apps, gaining her a following on social media. Given her background, it’s no surprise that Zhong has well-developed ideas about what might appeal to today’s younger users in a new social networking app.

“I’ve always loved social,” she says, but added that social media doesn’t feel social anymore. “Everything is just media. It feels very disconnected.”

In part, that’s because all our content now is highly personalized, the founder says. “We’re watching different content and [following] different interests than our friends, so community is harder to find as a result,” she says.

Creating Connections and Community

With Noplace, the idea is to provide a place where people can follow their friends as well as find others who share their interests in one place. The app offers a mini, customizable profile where users can share what they’re up to right now and customize it to reflect their interests. Users’ profiles can feature tags, which the app calls “stars,” that are the interests or topics that they care about. For example, users might add their astrology sign, their Myers-Briggs personality type, their hobbies or their fandoms to their profiles, which then makes them discoverable to others. It even has a “top 10 friends” section, reminiscent of Myspace’s top 8.

Focus on Real-Time Updates

Noplace is more like a global group chat or Twitter/X rival than it is an alternative to Facebook, as it focuses on text-based updates and doesn’t support either photos or videos for the time being. “Facebook 10 years ago — or Facebook when I was using it in middle school — was all around cool, life updates,” Zhong says. “We don’t get that anymore, right? You can follow [friends] on Instagram, but it’s still highlights, less updates.”

On Noplace, users are meant to share what they’re currently doing, not what they’ve already done. If you’re in a new city or watching a show or checking out a new band, those could be your status updates. The app offers two feeds, one with your friends and another global feed from everyone in the app, and both are in reverse chronological order. There are no private profiles.

Safety and Moderation

People who enter their age as younger than 18 will also receive a more moderated feed. The company is focused on moderation, having built its own internal dashboard for the purpose, and is tasking a team to ensure users stay safe.

Conclusion

Noplace is redefining the social media landscape by bringing back the essence of social interaction that has been lost in the current era of highly personalized content. With its focus on real-time updates, customizable profiles, and a sense of community, Noplace is poised to be the next big hit among Gen Z and beyond. As it continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how this app shapes the future of social networking.

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