Now, more than ever, it’s time to pop.in
We may be more “connected” than ever before, but 140-character hot takes do not a deep connection make. Technology can and should enable honest dialogue and empathy.
Post, scroll, comment, repeat. Post, scroll, comment, repeat. These days, our online social routine is deeply engrained, almost second nature. And yet, for all of the chatter, we’re listening to each other now less than ever. We are networked, but we are not connected. For some of us, it feels like we are shouting into an echo chamber; for others, it feels like we are shouting into a void.
That’s why our team is excited to announce the launch of pop.in, an app for spontaneous, ephemeral, genuine connection (read more about the features of pop.in here). We set out to build a place where we could stop the shouting, the echoing, the 140-character ranting, and start having real, nuanced conversations that make us lean in and really listen to each other.
Why do we feel this is especially important right now? Most social media experiences are built in one of two ways: i) to broadcast, amplify and provoke (think a “retweet with comment”) or ii) to surface what users are algorithmically assured to “like.” But many are seeking more. Those outside the mainstream — women, people of color, veterans, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities (who together make up the majority of us)— often shy away from expressing nuanced perspectives. Existing social features often inadvertently empower trolls and favor flaming pitchforks over genuine, complex discussion.
We spoke to many of those who feel left out, those who feel they must play a character on social media or avoid it altogether. The need for something more genuine, something more real, is palpable. With every choice we made in developing pop.in, we prioritized creating an inclusive space for real-time dialogue, a place where everyone can express themselves with nuance, sensitivity and vulnerability.
pop.in for honest connection
pop.ins are very intentionally ephemeral, so that users don’t need to be concerned about how their words might later be used against them. They can instead be fully present in the moment. Live conversations tend to make people feel more vulnerable, and thus more honest and civil with one another. That vulnerability also allows and even compels people to be their truest selves, which can ultimately lead to a stronger sense of community. We take your vulnerability seriously: every host and every participant can see who else is in the pop.in, so you never feel like you’re exposing yourself without knowing your audience.
pop.in to focus
You spend your whole day multitasking. Face-to-face conversation is your one opportunity to zero in, to focus and to deeply connect. With pop.in, we’re dedicated to creating environments where all participants can devote our attention to each other in a deliberate and uninterrupted way in order to cultivate meaningful exchange.
pop.in to express yourself on your own terms
It’s our perspective that tolerance is as much about listening as it is about speaking. So while pop.ins allow multiple people to get on live video together, we also offer a number of other ways to express yourself: through audio, chats, upvotes, or images. Whether you feel like sharing your own stories, opinions or fears, or feel that it’s simply time for you to listen and react to someone else’s, pop.ins will include you.
pop.in with intention
We encourage hosts to list “ground rules” for their pop.in, so that the tenor and intention of the conversation can be set from the get-go. Ground rules aren’t there to make you feel like you’re in detention; they’re there to create a framework for the exchange. They can be about keeping people safe (i.e. not revealing personal information), or they can be totally wacky — what if a group of foodies decided to have a conversation about current events, but instead of being able to name locations, they had to describe them by way of their culinary markers?
Whether online or IRL, organizing anything is challenging, and getting to meaningful dialogue in a digital environment that whizzes past is even harder. Stop scrolling and start talking. With pop.in, we’re striving to make the world a more meaningfully connected place. And this isn’t just about having hard conversations, either. We believe inclusivity and diverse voices are paramount to every conversation, whether it’s about immigrant rights or who should be the next Bachelor, healthcare or whether “Despacito” is worthy of the hype (the Bieber-free version is). So the next time you’ve got an opinion, a question, a piece of gossip or simply an urge to connect with real people, go ahead and pop.in.