What is Swipe?

Question from a middle school administrator – Over break I was invited by students and former students to JoinSwipe.  It has a smiley face.  What do you think of this app?  What is it?  Any advice would be great.

What is Swipe?

First off, their logo is a wink. The logo alone is a bit of a shot across the bow about what the app is all about.

Second off, I’ve not heard of it. It seems to be pretty small and new, which doesn’t mean much I suppose.

So let’s do some digging. 

Here’s the official description on the iTunes App store:

By invitation only.

See the photos & videos your friends won’t post on Facebook.

With Swipe we wanted to build something fun that made conversations more like running into friends in real life?—?wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. When you get into the app, you’ll see a stack of photos & videos posted by your friends. It’s not stuff you’d find on Facebook?—?it’s what they’re really doing. That’s because your username is invisible by default when you post to Swipe.

You can do three things with posts, and they all involve swiping ;). If the post doesn’t interest you, swipe left to pass?—?you’ll never see it again. If you think it’s cool, swipe right to let the poster know you like it. And if you want to reply, just tap the post, write a message, and swipe up. When your friend gets the reply, they can send one back to you and reveal their identity. Replies can go back and forth until someone gets bored?—?and just swipes it away.

Here’s the official screenshots:

Here’s some background from the developers on their blog:

With Swipe we wanted to build something fun that made conversations more like running into friends in real life?—?wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. When you get into the app, you’ll see a stack of photos & videos posted by your friends. It’s not stuff you’d find on Facebook?—?it’s what they’re really doing. That’s because your username is invisible by default when you post to Swipe.

Source (Notice they are using Medium as their blog platform, not Tumblr. I see Medium as more of a grown up version of Tumblr.)

Here’s the company that’s developing it, Complex Polygon, it’s small, might be just two guys.
It looks like the domain may be registered in Panama, but that could just be a privacy setting. It’s pretty clearly being developed in Silicon Valley.
Here’s who is funding it, it looks like a legit first round, $1.7 million:

And here’s some backstory about the primary brains behind it, actually a really interesting read. 

The app is a mash-up of several different trends right now.

It’s “anonymish.” Your friends share different photos but you won’t know exactly who took them, even if you have a pretty good idea (like Snoop Lion, pictured above).

It’s got a Tinder mechanic where you swipe left or right to like things. Or up if you want to comment on something.

It’s ephemeral. You only get to see photos once.

How did Roushdy and Hardy end up here?

They wanted to build something fun that would be universally recognized; they structured Complex Polygon as a startup where they could spin out idea after idea to see which one stuck. Swipe is their second one, and it had enough promising engagement metrics that they decided to do a bigger launch.

Source

What You Need to Know

I think Swipe is most like Tinder. If students are using it in your school or youth group I wouldn’t be overly concerned. It doesn’t have a positive or negative reputation at this point. But I would be curious, I would inquire with students about what they are doing with the app and why they like it.

If I were a middle or high school student and Tinder was a little too, um, flirty and/or sexual for me, I can see playing with something like Swipe. It’s basically a mash-up of Snapchat and Tinder. (With the swiping right or left of Tinder, the disappearing image thing.)

For students, again, it’s all about helping them understand that the images here don’t really disappear any more than they do with Snapchat. (Social Media Principle #2) And since people can send you pictures and you don’t really have any context for it… what TechCrunch called “anonymish” it could just as easily be someone doing something you don’t want to see as it could be someone making cutesy duck face at their grandmas.

Questions for readers: How are you using Swipe? Did I get something wrong? Leave a comment and share your experience.


 

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By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in the San Diego neighborhood of Rolando with their three children.

4 comments

  1. From what I have come to learn about swipe is it another easy way for kids to bully each other. They can snap a photo of another child, write something nasty on it and away it goes for others to read. Not a fan and would keep middle schoolers away from it until they are more responsible with using apps without harm.

  2. I’m sure there are ways to use this app well; however, kids are using it for bullying. Two of my students – both teenage girls – were horribly bullied yesterday through this app. The more I heard about this app from my students, the more I thought it was designed just for bullying. I was actually surprised to learn that the creators of this app hadn’t advertised it as such. Whatever the intent of the designers, my students seem to take it as granted that this app is meant for “destroying” others. The anonymity removes all filters and fears of consequence and so the posts are cruel – even violent – and vulgar; the perpetrator can’t be caught. I’ve never seen a form of social media that could bring out the worst in teens the way this app does.

  3. This app has caused some people I do not know to enter my home and invade my privacy. I hear them talking as if they where right in the same room. It seem like they follow me every where I go I am hearing them they tend to get off in any electronics I have a problem no one will help me know how to stop this matter. I call the police,FBI and tell them whats going on the think I am crazy and my friends do to go if any one can help me to know why this is happen.

  4. Just eliminate ALL social media…not doing a thing to help our society, teens or anyone else.
    Get out there and DO something to contribute to a cause you care about. Stop the madness and learn to communicate in person!

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