Do you remember the anonymous internet forums that dominated the mid-2000s? Facebook has launched a new iPhone app meant to bring back precisely those experiences that the internet used to provide back when everything could be anonymous.
“Rooms” is an app that brings anonymous internet forums to your smartphone, functioning like a newsfeed or tiny message board. The Room gets a name, a wallpaper and afterwards, people are invited to share anything from text to photos or videos.
The most notable feature of Rooms, however, is the fact that users choose different identities whenever they enter a new room and because the app does not require a link to Facebook, Twitter or Google+ profiles, anonymity is ensured. Some Rooms have already been set up by the app’s team. Early users are dedicated to trainers, home-cooked food or Kendama, the traditional Japanese cup and ball toy.
Additionally, users can basically customize their Rooms to their liking, for instance renaming the “like” button or choosing an emoji-icon they like. If your room is connected to gardening, why not upvote the content in it by using a large tree or a flower? Invitations to join particular rooms are sent out by using QR codes which look like cinema tickets.
The invitation can be sent out on Facebook or Twitter, sent via text message or email and all the user has to do is screenshot the one he or she prefers and the Room automatically becomes a new board on the app’s homescreen.
Rooms is designed to allow more than just your Facebook friends to enter the chat- it’s more than just a place to organize days out. What Rooms aims is to become a place where like-minded people discuss topics they’re interested in. Rooms also allows users to make the content of the board searchable or mark it 18+ only.
However, there is something that Facebook has to overcome: the difficulty with which the app can become famous. Since it is a mobile-only and invite-based app, it will have to be spread by word of mouth and since people might not always be into what you like, users could have difficulties in actuallly finding rooms they’re interested in.
What Facebook knows for certain, however, is that the future of the web is mobile and that the pseudonymous message boards have been and will continue to be immensely popular. Rooms may just be the next best thing for Facebook, all they need is for someone to start the party.