How Lockdown Inspired A Whole Generation To Use Houseparty
As the whole world retreated into a lockdown due to the pandemic, coronavirus, it seemed like most of the fun activities like birthday parties, cocktail nights, and casual dinners with friends were put to an end or suspended for the time being.
But then…came Houseparty, an application that has been in the market since 2016, which would classify as a product of FaceTime and Zoom merged together (with additional games). This video-chat platform’s popularity seems to have followed coronavirus around the globe since they now find themselves as the number 1 downloaded application in the Apple stores within countries like Australia, Canada, and the UK.
That’s a surprising turn of events for an app that has had a tough time gaining traction over the past four years, competing with the likes of TikTok, Snapchat, Dubsmash, and WhatsApp.
A few weeks back, I spent over 3 hours chatting with my friends on Houseparty. I would like to think that this is not just me, so please do tell if you belong to this community as well…(Hint: The answer is Yes!)
The picture above serves as a perfect example of how Houseparty facilitates interaction between people while also playing fun games. It helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses, while also providing a platform to compete with my friends which made it more interesting.
Houseparty gave me one of the best moments (well, probably SOME of the best moments) of these innumerable weeks under quarantine.
(Disclaimer: I promise I’m not that bad at drawing, it was just a bad day at the office)
What’s So Great About It?
Houseparty accommodates and lets you chat with eight people at a time. Moreover, it reshuffles the screen each time someone enters or leaves the chat (or room). One fun (and potentially awkward) facet of Houseparty is that you can jump in on any conversation your friend is having, even if the people they are talking to aren’t people you really know, unless they decide to lock the room. It allows users to play different games with each other, which brings out the competitive spirit within most people. What’s really interesting is that the app offers an organic way of communicating as compared to Zoom.
When joining Houseparty, the app requests permission to connect with your contacts and other social networks so that it can add existing contacts to your friends list. Opening the app notifies the friends on your list that you are available and free to talk. It also provides a list of online friends, as well as “live” parties you can join or gatecrash. There’s a dropdown tab for games, which include HeadsUp, Trivia, Quick Draw, and Chips and Guac.
A New Brand, A New Identity
Over the years, Houseparty has evolved and rebranded themselves. In 2018, they introduced a new logo, “The Wave” along with their new tagline which read “Be you, be there, be together”. The idea behind the wave is that almost everyone is familiar with it.
To provide more context, a wave would have probably invited you into a conversation with someone you know. Within the app, it’s used as a means to summon people you would like to strike a conversation with. It also inspires you to invite your loved ones into meaningful conversations. Their tagline advocates for being yourself, which is unique, and surround yourself with the people you love the most.
Privacy Concerns: True or False?
Rumours were circulating that Houseparty is collecting all your personal information without your permission. A lot of people started Tweeting about their experiences with losing money from their bank accounts, someone hacking into their other social networking accounts, online streaming like Netflix, Spotify etc. This created a huge stir in the industry.
The owners of Houseparty are the online gaming firm called Epic Games, who are well renowned for “Fortnite” — the online video game which took the world by storm. They decided to take this matter seriously and offered a $1 million reward to anyone who can provide proof of the the sabotaging.
They even went one step further to publicly announce this reward on their Twitter account. It mentioned that they are investigating the source of these claims but they do believe that these claims “were spread by a paid commercial smear campaign to harm Houseparty.”
Personally, I believe that all the rumours about Houseparty collecting data is a hoax since they decided to offer a bounty for anyone who could provide proof to such rumours. Since this Tweet was released, no one came forward with any evidence that even remotely relates to hacking.
Houseparty advocates face-to-face communication because it’s the next closest thing to hanging out in person. This is because they believe that in-the-moment expressions and dialogue is what makes us human.
I agree, it’s not that simple as different people have different levels of involvement.
Liking, following, or commenting might be part of the norm now.
But…being social beings we understand the value of human connections.
This is why Houseparty will always inspire and be recognized as a success story for generations to come.
So, let’s Houseparty?