When we set out to build Plane we wanted to do something that was fundamentally different; No swiping, no selfies, no nonsense. We wanted to build a tool where people connect not based on how they look but how they see the world. A picture-less social network, an icebreaker, a non superficial messenger.
Jargon aside, what we’re really trying to do is level the playing field. But how and why?
People are inundated with services that allow them to share photos, videos, stickers, loops, cartoons, selfies, and everything else. When two people connect using Plane, it isn’t because of how the other person looks. It’s based on a text based ‘Signal’. We took pictures out the equation.
There are a plethora of services based on selfies and the filtered visual image. Some of these apps we actually use and love. It was once said regarding social media, “we will spend five years building these networks and then spend five years working out what it all meant”.
Last year the New York Times posted an essay from student Jordana Nairn entitled “No labels, no drama, right?”. It brilliantly encapsulated the moral and sociological impact of modern day dating for the mobile generation. Vanity Fair followed with an article using terms like ‘dating apocalypse’. This was November last year. This was things coming to a head. This was people working out what it all meant.
Just to be clear, Plane is not a dating app. In the very early days the assumption was it would be interesting to connect 2 people in the same city with similar interests. But what Plane has become since the launch is something more global. More adventurous.
What people love about using the service is the light speed travel. You can be connected in Stockholm to a person in Singapore and start a conversation within seconds. We’re seeing Signals being shared and answered, travel and AirBnB recommendations being made, Spotify playlists being shared, and people even building book clubs on Plane.
But the one thing that remains constant is all of the users feel like they’re on the same page when they start. You start with a Signal, you get private responses and you choose to reply to the responses you like.
I was recently asked by a user about how we keep the trolls away and keep the spirit and fantastic early community feel. The way Plane is designed does not cater to trolls, we don’t provide a public stage for them to vent, rant, and antagonise. If I post a Signal, only I see the responses.
We don’t position the spotlight under the bridge. We don’t give the trolls the eyeballs.
That’s not to say we haven’t faced challenges even in these early days. Of the tens of thousands of Signals shared and the hundreds of thousands of messages swapped, there have only been a tiny amount of people who come to Plane with the motive to offend and disrupt.
Last week we were accused by a user of having fake moderators and trying to lure people into false conversations. We were also accused of being based in Copenhagen (which is actually true and something we are proud of)
We do not have time for fake moderators and fake chats. We’re doing our best to support a growing community of people and respond to their feedback as quickly as possible. We won’t tolerate people explicitly breaking the rules, and we won’t let it alter our focus. The user in question has since been blocked and banned from the service.
In essence, this is one of the reasons we built Plane. We don’t want to share our space with negativity and be attacked by keyboard warriors. We wanted to build something better. We’re looking for ways in which our community help us manage the increasing traffic on the platform. Plane operates 24/7, but unfortunately the founders don’t (most of the time). If you’d like to get involved and would like to know more about becoming part of the ‘flight crew’ then please do get in touch.
There are a lot of things we have planned, not least delivering the product to all the Android users who have requested the app. As the product evolves and the users help us define our journey we will continue to optimise to ensure our users have the best possible experience. We’re trying hard to do our best.
Plane was featured by Apple as ‘Best New App’ in 79 countries. It was pulled from the Store in 2017 when we closed the service.
Thanks to Hampus Jakobsson for being able to bend space and time.