We launched our beta-version of the friendship app in Denmark summer last year. It really was a beta-version.
The users could talk with each other by pictures, audio and video messages. They could post on their profile page and they could find new friends based on interests. And that was pretty much it.
But it worked! And the users were very active finding new friends, communicate and posting pictures from their everyday life on their profile page.
During that time we were out presenting the app in many different places; festivals, sports events, activity days, schools and much more.
One day a mother and her son came up to talk to me. The place where the son was living, there were some, how already have joined the app, and she was curious about how the app worked.
I asked if her son should join too. “No” she said and continued “he can’t read and write, and he can’t talk very much so he can’t be social in an app””.
And that is the whole point of the app. Giving a space where you can be social, find new friends how share the same interest as you and communicate with them in a form that suits you – no matter how good or bad you read or write.
We ended up getting her son in the app. She told me, that he was a huge fan of cruise ships. And we made a video with him to his profile-page, where he was smiling and wavering to his new friends.
I sent out a message to all our superusers (superusers are our brand ambassadors who welcome the new users in the app, help them if needed and they also have a moderator role, so they also are one of our safety measures), telling them that this new user really enjoyed cruise ships, and if they saw any, sent one his way.
And they did. And when they did, they got a video back from him smiling or laughing while making his “happy sound”.
After a few months I meet his mother again. She told that her son has changed. Changed to a so happier young man. That he was grown so much because he now has friends he has got on his own. Friends that where thinking of him when they saw a cruise ship and took their time to take a picture and sent it to him.
She also told me that he was practiced diligently to be able to say “Thank you” in a way that you as receiver could understand and that he enthusiastically showed her his new friends and the pictures and videos he got them.
For you and me, it may not be great communication. But for this young man, it has meant a world of difference.
And that’s what we’re working on with the friendship app »We are Friends«. Day after day. Giving a voice to those who do not have one, so that they can find new friends to talk to – even if the talk is not in the same way as you and me talking.