Facebook relives its youth with lifestage

“We see a world that is video first, with video at the heart of all of our apps and service,” said Mark Zuckerberg at July’s Q2 earnings call. One month on, and teen-focused standalone app Lifestage is bringing that vision into fruition. 

The app is based around an entirely video-based profile made up of short clips recorded by users in response to personal questions.

Here’s the catch, though: the platform is aimed exclusively at high school students, making other people's profiles invisible to users over the age of 21.

Michael Sayman, the 19-year-old creator of the app, explains that the app is primarily intended to help classmates get to know one another better.

While the bold cartoonish backgrounds and cheeky emojis will no doubt appeal to a younger demographic, Lifestage also harks back to Facebook’s own younger years, with a renewed focus on self-expression. Sayman stated that "today as Facebook has grown into so much more, we see the opportunity to explore that concept of 'who I am' once again, but for Generation Z in 2016."

Instead of including a chat function of its own, the app allows users to put a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat handle in the ‘Reach Me’ section of the profile.

Sayman rationalised this decision, saying “my friends and I have a bajillion messaging apps we already use and love, so what’s the point of having another messaging app?”

While this choice allows the app to focus on its gamified video sharing (users level up by adding more content), it does raise the question of whether the app’s scope is perhaps a little limited. Not fully integrated with Facebook itself, yet not quite a social network in its own right, the platform may lose its appeal once the novelty wears off.

However, in the grander scheme of things this release is testament to a new era in which video-sharing is set to become as common, if not more so, as text or photographs. If video profiles take off amongst Facebook’s high school generation, we can expect to see that trend filtering through to the way the rest of us use Facebook.

So even if you’re ‘too old’ to check out Lifestage itself, you can rest assured that video-first social networking will soon catch up with you in a big way!