The future will be fake
Trying to figure out what teenagers find cool has long been a goal of anyone trying to make money. If you are creating a business you want to be appealing to the next generation as they enter adulthood. And, if you are investing, you want to try and figure out what the trends are so you can get in on them before the mainstream figures it out.
By that time, the teenagers have likely moved on to the next thing and the price to invest is too high to make it worth your time, anyway.
It’s with that in mind that there is a whole industry out there dedicated to figuring out what the next big Social Media app with young people will be. If you can find that unicorn and attach yourself onto it as an early adaptor there’s a good chance that you can profit from that, after all.
For instance, those who got onto TikTok in 2016/2017, and then became popular on it before it blew up, are reaping the rewards now.
Of course, there’s a reason I called it a unicorn above. Finding an app that breaks out and becomes the next big thing is exceptionally rare. Lots of developers are out there trying to come up with the idea. Most will either explode and quickly burn out, or will never find an audience at all.
There is also a third outcome for these apps, however. They can sometimes point us in the direction the zeitgeist is trending, even if they themselves are ultimately unsuccessful. It’s in this third, in between category, that the current hot app, itsme, will fall.
The app itsme was launched two years ago this month, but only recently started to gain widespread popularity do to some significant influencer play on TikTok, through #itsmeapp. It’s been among the fastest growing Social Media apps this year as a result.
Briefly, what it is: Users create avatars that they then use to participate in live video calls with complete strangers that have been matched to them via a few broad interests that they select (music, comedy, etc.). The developers say it’s safe, but it seems like something that’s going to end with a four-part, true crime documentary on Netflix, to me.
But, I’m not the target audience. Teenagers are. And, right now they seem at least partially interested in itsme. Mostly, if the videos shared on TikTok are any indication, to insult strangers, but they’re using it. For now. I’d suggest that the interface is too limited to sustain their interest for long, however. This will probably fade away soon enough, but what is interesting about it is the avatar application they are using..
Avatar technology is very much something to keep an eye on. There is significant research, investment and interest in it right now. The developers of itsme are putting a lot of attention on the avatars and, if I’m speculating, I suspect that’s their long-term play here. They aren’t looking to be Social Media tycoons, but rather leaders in the avatar space.
As stated, that’s a space that is going to have all kinds of applications in the future as we move more and more into a world where our online interactions are what most define us.