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Shosha is a social app focused on genuine connections, not making yourself look good


Facebook is making us miserable. That’s the headline that ran in the Harvard Business Review a few years ago to describe how social media is actually making us more self-conscious and less social. If you’re a regular user, you’ve probably noticed this yourself: the image your friends project on Facebook is constructed. It’s not their real life, it’s what they want other people to think their real life is like. But the result can often be that we feel worse about ourselves (because our life isn’t as cool as theirs looks) and that we’re not as connected to friends as we think (because we don’t have any idea what their real day-to-day life is like).

In southeastern China, a group of French expats is working to change that. Their app, Shosha (a combination of “shoot” and “share”), is remarkably simple: you connect with people you actually care about. Then once a day at a random moment, the app will prompt you to take a quick five-second video of whatever you’re doing. You share that video – a probably-mundane snippet of your regular day-to-day life – with the friends and family you added in the app. And you can browse through their videos to see what they’re up to very quickly, since each video is only five seconds long.

Shosha differs from other apps like Vine in that it can’t be curated: the app chooses what time you should shoot your video, so you can’t just pick the moments that make you look good. You can (of course) change the notification settings or put off a video a couple times each day to ensure that it doesn’t interrupt something important like a business meeting, but you can’t just shoot a Shosha video whenever you want. That means that you can’t try to make your life look awesome unless you’re actually doing awesome stuff all the time. It’ll give your friends a more realistic picture of what you’re up to (and vice-versa). And it also gives you a kind of quick-to-browse video diary of your life as you scroll back through your own feed.

shoshaShosha isn’t actually available yet, and it won’t be until at least September, although the team plans to launch a limited beta later this month. But the Shosha team has already netted an angel investment (US$30,000 in a round that values the company at US$3M, according to Shosha CEO Kimkolora Pen) and it plans to look for VC backing once it has a more concrete product and userbase to show investors. The version of the app that Shosha founders demoed for Tech in Asia already looked pretty slick, though. Among the cool features: turning the app on its side autoplays all the videos in your feed in sequence. (The idea is this should make it easier for elderly relatives who may be less tech-savvy to use – all they need to do is tap the app, turn their phone sideways, and they’ll be able to see the latest Shosha videos their grandkids have posted automatically).

But does the world really need yet another social app? Probably not. Shosha is hoping that it can carve out a niche for itself by focusing on authenticity, and dialing down the scale of “social” to just the core group of family and friends you actually want to share your life with. The team believes that because the app picks a time for you and prompts you to record your video automatically, it won’t consume any additional mindshare – you can shoot your video and browse your friends’ feed for the day in less than two minutes. “It won’t feel like having another app on your phone,” Shosha CMO Homéric de Sarthe told Tech in Asia. “It will be something that works by itself.”

But there’s no denying that some users still may be hesitant to bring another social app into their lives and try to spread it amongst their friends when there are already so many social platforms out there. Shosha is different, but whether that will be enough is anyone’s guess at this point.

Another question is how Shosha will make money. The team says it plans to implement a “Freemium” model that would include extra paid features like longer video clips in addition to advertising. None of those features are in the app at the moment, though, and in the early stages the team plans to focus on growth before worrying about revenue.

The Shosha team is based in China more or less by chance – as expats they were already living in Shenzhen, and being familiar with the area, it made sense to start a business there. But their sights are set on the global market, and in the long term Shosha aims to have two offices – one in the US for marketing the app to the Western world, and another in Shenzhen or Hong Kong to focus on spreading it throughout Asia. “Shosha has the potential to be an international app,” de Sarthe says. The Shosha team also wants to find a China partner in the long term. Someone like Baidu, Alibaba, or Tencent, de Sarthe says. “Someone that could just take the app and make it big right away.”

The Shosha team is ready to take on the world. But is the world ready to embrace a social app that’s focused on privacy and intimacy rather than blasting a self-censored image out to the masses?

This post Shosha is a social app focused on genuine connections, not making yourself look good appeared first on Tech in Asia.

Source:: Shosha is a social app focused on genuine connections, not making yourself look good

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