Facebook has rolled out an exclusive teens only socializing app, Lifestage. Lifestage is a standalone iOS app which creates profile videos to exhibit users’ preferences and dislikes in various fields.
It’s an innovative tool which lets users answer biographical questions with pictures instead of text. For example, as answers to questions like favorite pet or food, users will have to upload a photo to create their video diary. The app also has a gamification element; the profile with the most updates will rank the highest.
Lifestage is designed for audience 21 years and under. Older users will be able to download the app but will only be able to see their own profile and will not be able to communicate with other users. The app requires .edu email addresses for registration which serves as an age authentication measure and a virtual barrier to entry for users 22 and older.
To get started, users select their school. If not available in the app yet, users have to wait for 20 more people to join the Lifestage community to unlock their school. Once registered, users can view profiles of students attending their school and other nearby schools.
Here’s how Facebook Lifestage works:
- A prolonged profile video will be compiled with user’s answers to questions. To keep the ball rolling, one has to continue answering questions for more to appear.
- Users add posts to different fields in their profile. Users have the freedom to replace video posts in any profile field at any moment.
- The feed will display profiles of students in the same school or nearby schools.
- Users can tap through to see specific answers and swipe through to skip to different sections of a user’s profile.
- A sunglasses smile emoji in front of a user’s name indicates an update while a frown or poop emoji indicates those users who have not updated their profiles in a while.
- Students can rank higher than others by continuously updating their profiles.
- Since this is not a texting app, it does not support direct messaging. However, users can be contacted via a Reach Me option available under each user’s name. The option carries links to user’s Snapchat and Instagram accounts.
- Users can block and report inappropriate people in the list by swiping on their name.
- Once users register as a student of a particular school, they are not allowed to change it.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Lifestage’s 19 years old developer, Micheal Saymen, explained that the app is designed to replicate the early day’s functionality of Facebook itself in 2004; when it was open to university students via college-to-college communities. The main idea behind Lifestage is to provide an opportunity to high school students to find people with similar interests and to expand their social circle.
It is an irrefutable fact that Lifestage is yet another effort by Facebook to attract the teen demographic to its platform and curb the use of its rival app, Snapchat. Last month, Instagram stories were added to Instagram with most of Snapchat’s popular functionalities.
Only time will tell how Lifestage will fare against the competition. Judging by the reviews, it is obvious that some users are not comfortable with releasing personal information like their phone number during the registration process.
Lifestage is available in the App Store for free and requires iOS 8.0 or later. It is compatible with iPhone and iPod touch.