It was released as a standalone app on iOS on August 19, 2016. It’s Facebook’s answer to Snapchat and it’s for people under 21. Lifestage is an app that basically is Facebook with all the statuses and posts in video format. All of your data, your likes and dislikes, posts and friends are compiled in to videos. And that’s your profile. Facebook’s appeal amongst the masses isn’t exactly dying out but it looks to be doing everything it can to sustain that. It’s especially trying to reach out to the young.
Lifestage works pretty simply. You start off by choosing your high school and then make videos to fill up your profile. You can only see other’s profiles though, when 20 people join from that school. It’s like how Facebook began when it was much more exclusive than it is now. People that are 22 and over can also access the app but they will only be able to see their own profiles because it’s aimed at getting high schoolers to interact more.
For direct messages the app has an option called ‘Reach Me’, that allows users to redirect who ever wants to contact them to the social network of their choice, not necessarily Facebook.Lifestage was conceived and developed by Facebook’s 19 year old product manager, Michael Sayman. So it was an effort for teenagers by teenagers. Sayman taught himself to code at 13 and created 4Snaps, a photo charades app. The idea for the latter came to him when he overheard his sister on the phone sending pictures to her friend and asking which word they could represent. He joined the Facebook team as an intern first and eventually ended up where he is now. He spent the last two years working on Lifestage. He led the launch of the app as you can imagine.
“I wanted to work on an app that my demographic would relate to, or at least that my friends would want to use.”
Facebook’s App Collection
Facebook currently has a lot of apps under its belt that are all big moneymakers. It’s home grown messenger app crossed 1 billion active users this year and it already owned WhatsApp that has over a billion users. The Instagram app is also wildly popular, being the go to photo app for celebrities around the world. And now there’s Lifestage. But Facebook has also had its share of misses. The Paper app, Notify, Slingshot and Poke were all shutdown because they didn’t generate user interest. Also, take a look at the fact that WhatsApp and Instagram weren’t Facebook’s creations to begin with and only the Messenger App has become so successful over the years.
It’s clear that Facebook can’t do everything right. However, it has shown that it’s good at evolving slowly. Remember how bad the constant repair and maintenance messages were once on the social network, or the design changes on the profile? But today that never happens. Everything has slowly but surely been streamlined to a point where it’s almost perfect. Heck, Facebook’s recent changes including the ability to search all posts and to shop right on the site have been welcomed, though sometimes reluctantly. So maybe, given enough time, Lifestage will evolve to make its own place within Facebook’s eco system.