The mobile app industry is always rapidly changing. From mobile apps replacing our wallets, to how we turn on lights in our homes, app developers are constantly trying to find a new solution to a problem, and create an app that stands on its own in terms of innovation and creativity. However, many times, the mobile app world is dictated by trends, and once a trend is set, apps find it difficult to evolve past the model set by previous, similar apps. Dating apps, and the culture that surrounds them, are just one example of mobile industry trends that are difficult to break.
The current trend of dating apps is dictated by the hookup scene. Apps such as Tinder, OkCupid, and Grindr, have become synonymous with the “hot or not” dating culture, where a simple swipe of the finger can move you from your current match to the next. In addition, the hundreds of dating apps simply reinforce this feeling, instead of trying to bring about a holistic dating experience. With no need to actually go out in order to get a date, users can simply look for a quick hook up on an app, and swipe until they find their next target.
And yet, is there more hiding beneath the surface? Last August, following the scathing review of Tinder and the impact of hookup culture in a Vanity Fair article, Tinder’s Twitter had a full fledged-meltdown on how the article did not comprehend what they were trying to accomplish. With tweets ranging from “It’s about meeting new people for all kinds of reasons. Travel, dating, relationships, friends and sh*t ton of marriages” to “So we are going to keep focusing on bringing people together. That’s why we’re here. That is why all of us at Tinder work so hard,” it is clear that Tinder felt they had been misrepresented. However, was that actually the case? And more importantly, can Tinder prove that they are more than just a hookup app?
Once an app has chosen to follow a trend, it is hard to break out – something that Tinder is currently experiencing. However, while it may be too late for some dating apps, newer apps have the opportunity to not only react differently to industry trends, but can benefit from more specific, niche communities. One such app named GUYZ, is hoping to change this status quo.
GUYZ is a new, free social platform and mobile app for gay and bi men that reimagines the way gay men communicate online. The creators of the app argue that while the world has largely accepted gay life into the mainstream, gay-focused apps continue to narrowly focus on specific aspects of the community. With GUYZ, gay men can be who they naturally are, without needing to conform to apps that treat the gay community as what the app creators call a “meat market”.
GUYZ uses your phone’s built-in GPS function to find friends and soon-to-be friends around you, and invites them to join you for any kind of activity: whether you’re looking for someone to share a coffee with, or a friend to join in visiting a new exhibition. Users can also text and group chat, as well as make voice and video calls without ever leaving the app.
As an all-in-one platform for everything a gay man socially needs, GUYZ wants to usher in a new wave of gay-focused apps that shows that gay men are more than just a picture of a handsome face or abs. However, whether GUYZ is able to transform the gay app scene is yet to be proven. GUYZ may face the obstacles of showing that they are leaving the status quo of gay apps, expanding past the swipe culture that has effectively created a generation of apps that encourage shallowness, rudeness, and in-authenticity. GUYZ is ultimately reframing the discussion and encouraging in-app behavior that facilitates real-life, honest behavior, whether you are looking for Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now.