Wednesday, 25 August 2010

MessageParty: making the social anti-social since 2010

Is it just me, or is this advert for MessageParty slightly depressing in a post-apocalyptic, 1984-meets-iPhone kinda way?

It’s for a chat application that is pitched as location-aware.You can have a messenger conversation with a group of people at a conference, check in with people in a bar and talk about football, chat to people at the bus-stop about the weather...

Hold on a minute, isn’t that what basic human interaction is about?
This product to me is the antithesis of what social media is about. Social media should always supplement real-life interaction, not replace it. I can’t think of anything more depressing that standing at a bus stop in total silence, typing about how much I like cats and football to somebody stood next to me who I don’t even know, and probably won’t even see again. That’s not conversational, that’s just vomiting useless personal information.

Also, if I was making a presentation and a load of people were engaging in an IM conversation whilst I was presenting, then I think that I could safely assume that I’m not doing a good job, but also that if they have a strong opinion, they’re not very good at expressing it, and would probably prefer to snark about it to somebody they’re trying to impress two rows forward.

Whichever way you look, it's certainly the opposite of the cheery, leaf-kicking corporate image they're trying to put across...

Messageparty: Officially the most boring party on earth? Prove me wrong...


  1. Ben --

    Thanks for writing this - I am one of the co-founders of MessageParty.

    There's definitely an argument to be made about people spending more time on devices and that cannibalizing human interactions, but the reason we built the application is because we wanted to engender new types of interactions - ones that could only really happen with the help of a device.

    If you download the app you'll see that the "everyone" party has over 1000 people in it from all over the world, interacting in a way that I've never experienced before.

    Sometimes people are curious about those around them but it's socially unacceptable to just go up and chat. So those meetings never really happen.

    We're hoping it's not the most boring party on earth but time will tell...

  2. Hi Amanda,

    Thanks for getting in touch!

    I get your point, and from some of the feedback on Hacker News and other sources it could be really useful for shy people, but should you really be facilitating digital over basic human interaction?

    "[conversations] that could only really happen with the help of a device."

    I think your promo ad needs to be clearer then - a converstion at a bus stop about dogs and rain isn't that out of the ordinary.

    I'm not really sure what's creepier - seeing someone wearing the tour t-shirt of a band I like at the bus stop and going up to them, or sending them a message on my phone when I'm stood a few feet away from them.

    It just looks like the death of a party to me. I hope I'm not right...

    Thanks for stopping by though, and good luck.