The Changing Landscape of Social Media: From Houseparty's Rise to Adapting to the Pandemic


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 08, 2023

3 min read


The Changing Landscape of Social Media: From Houseparty's Rise to Adapting to the Pandemic

In September 2017, Houseparty, a popular chat app, announced that it had 20 million users who spent an average of 51 minutes per day on the app. The app aimed to bring empathy into online communication, something that seemed to be lacking in the current environment. It reminded us of the essence of social networks - a place to connect with the people who matter to us the most. Instead of prioritizing quantitative self-affirmation, Houseparty focused on the qualitative sense of connection that users could experience. It placed importance on actions that occur simultaneously, rather than the individual actions of liking, commenting, or retweeting that happen at different times.

Houseparty's audience today consists primarily of young people, with 60% of its users being 24 years old or younger. This demographic shift reflects the app's ability to resonate with the younger generation, who seek genuine connections and real-time interactions. Houseparty understood the importance of users physically showing up in the app, considering it the most significant essence of their platform.

Now, let's shift our focus to the current situation, particularly how businesses have had to adapt their strategies in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. One example is Oisa Ramen, a restaurant in Boston that had never offered off-premise orders before. However, they quickly adjusted to the circumstances and started explaining to their customers how to order takeout. This demonstrates the resilience and agility of businesses in finding new ways to serve their customers and survive during challenging times.

The common thread between Houseparty and Oisa Ramen is their ability to adapt and communicate effectively. Both prioritize understanding their audience and finding innovative ways to meet their needs. While Houseparty focuses on fostering connections between individuals, Oisa Ramen understands the importance of maintaining a connection with their customers by providing alternative ordering options.

In a broader context, these examples highlight the need for businesses to engage in meaningful conversations with their customers during times of crisis. Communication becomes essential in addressing concerns, offering support, and providing clear instructions. Here are three actionable pieces of advice for businesses looking to navigate these challenging times:

  • 1. Prioritize empathy and understanding: Take the time to listen to your customers' concerns and understand their needs. Empathy goes a long way in building meaningful connections and trust.
  • 2. Adapt and innovate: Be willing to adapt your business model or strategies to meet the changing demands of your customers. Explore new ways to serve them, whether it's through takeout options, delivery services, or online platforms.
  • 3. Communicate transparently and effectively: Keep your customers informed about any changes or updates in your operations. Provide clear instructions on how they can continue to support your business or access your products or services. Use multiple communication channels, such as social media, email newsletters, or website updates, to reach your audience effectively.

In conclusion, the rise and success of Houseparty and the adaptability of businesses like Oisa Ramen exemplify the importance of effective communication and understanding in today's dynamic landscape. By prioritizing genuine connections, adapting to changing circumstances, and communicating transparently, businesses can navigate challenges and maintain strong relationships with their customers. The key lies in embracing innovation, being responsive to evolving needs, and engaging in meaningful conversations.

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