A Russian startup called Unface.me has created a new social network inspired by the Gossip Girl TV series which lets users create an alter ego to — let’s face it — troll their friends, or even post even worst types of gossip entirely anonymously. The site connects with Facebook and Russian social network VKontakte so it can pull in users’ genuine friend networks, then furnishes them with a series of tools to poke fun, dish salacious gossip or vote on who of their friends is coolest and therefore who is not. Y’know, teen stuff.
Teens powered the rise of social networking giant Facebook. But today’s teens are arguably starting to be less enamoured with the platform their siblings spent all their time on, what with so many other, more flexible ways to ping and poke each other. Facebook’s insistence on real names, and its standard comms toolset of public posts, private messages and IM isn’t helping here. Looked at through the hyper layered and stratified teenage lens, it’s pretty limting. Which is giving startups the opportunity to crowd in.
Zuck and co were also not as quick to respond to the growth in mobile messaging as they should have been. The long and short of it is that today’s teens are spoiled for choice; they don’t need Facebook to stay in touch — they have a whole arsenal of creative digital tools to get around being grounded.