I’ve written extensively in the past about the many ways in which technology has had an impact on our love lives, from the algorithm that helps you connect with people who share your interests, to the ‘Facebook couples’ who merge their online identities. Dating site HowAboutWe has also noticed that modern relationships play out as much on social media as they do in real life, and has now launched a private messaging platform for couples.
The app is called You&Me, and is being offered up as an alternative to WhatsApp and Snapchat when it comes to sharing more intimate messages. “The mission has always been to help people fall in love and stay in love,” co-CEO Aaron Schildkrout said in an interview with Quartz. “You&Me is about devoting a unique space to the most important conversation in your life: the one you have with the person you love. There should be an icon dedicated to that person. There wasn’t a great app for that, so we designed it to serve that purpose.”
Users can send messages, images, voice recordings, videos and songs. Its most novel feature is the ‘Secret’ function, which allows you to send a “fogged up” image which can only be revealed by wiping away the “steam” on your screen. As Quartz’s Rachel Feltman points out; “Nobody wants a for-your-eyes-only shot opened on a crowded subway car.”
Private messaging and networking are nothing new; previous start-ups have found creative and visually engaging ways of telling family stories. But by narrowing its focus to just two users at a time, will You&Me and its ilk ever be seen as anything more than a novelty download? After all, private jokes work just as well on WhatsApp, or iMessage, or Facebook Messenger. And what precisely happens to all of your shared content if you should happen to break up with your partner? While I am usually a supporter of people connecting and finding love through social media, to me this just seems like an extra, unnecessary level of complicated.