Social media addiction and always online status have presented hindrances in making connections with other people in real life. The era of instant gratification and dopamine boost has made people talk more on social media and less through face to face interactions with friends and family. Moreover, social media platforms and gadgets are designed in a way to get people addicted. These platforms have faced a lot of criticism from experts, psychologists, and researchers.
Though teens are addicted to some of the social media platforms, they are averse to hang out on the same platforms where their parents are. Facebook faced the considerable amount of reduction in number of hours spent on the platform. The firm has been trying to figure out new ways to make people spend quality time on the platform. The social media addiction has been affecting the emotional and mental well-being of users. Tech experts realized it and designed an app to make people stay away from these platforms and focus on building relationships through face to face interactions.
A new app named IRL, which stands for ‘in real life’, helps users to conduct offline activities. The platform enables users to send, receive, and accept invitations for activities in which face to face interactions are involved. These activities may include a group movie, movie date, or workout session. Moreover, the invitations can be sent to users who are already in their phone contacts. The aim of this app is to make teens keep their phones aside and spend time on offline activities.
The team members behind the making of the IRL are veterans from the tech industry. Abraham Shafi, IRL co-founder and CEO was a founder of GetTalent, an HR software company. Another co-founder is Scott Banister, an early investor in Facebook and the first board member of PayPal. Moreover, Krutal Desai and Henry Khachatryan, who founded GetSponge.com, are also the team members. They stated that the company will make revenue based on tickets sold on their platform for activities or classes. They decided to make the platform free of display ads. This app was ranked among top 10 social apps in Apple’s list. Shafi, CEO of IRL outlined that the social media is no longer about connecting people but has become a spectator sport. He informed that the number of downloads increase during the holiday seasons.
The emergence of smartphones made everything available on our fingertips. As smartphone popularity grew, apps also gained prominence. These apps gave people a new way of living in which they can share every detail of their lives. Though the tech companies made their vision statements about bringing people closer and connecting them with their friends and family, their platforms have been alienating users from connecting in real life.
Investors showed interest in IRL as it fills the gap which leading social media companies have left in the industry. IRL raised funds from investors such as Floodgate, Founders Fund, and other angel investors. Founders have been trying to make people meet offline and focus on planning face to face interactions.