In our social media-disrupted world, a platform for authentic human connection would be welcomed by any of us who are suffering from social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now a new app has launched globally that enables you to chat face-to-face with new connections in 188 countries. This app lets you talk to a closely matched stranger who shares the same interests as you.
Los Angeles-based start-up Social Connection has released Seechum -- an on-demand, video-based social connection mobile app, which is intended to help users create "a meaningful connection with like-minded people."
It matches members who seek social connections with other people, known as chums, through video chat.
As communication styles become more personal, its social science-based, AI-driven search engine algorithm will tailor content to specific, relevant topics for its members.
Users configure their profiles including how much they like discussing topics such as politics, religion, or how much they like playing video games. They then add their interests, languages spoken, and things that they are not passionate about.
Its machine learning identifies personality indicators within categories of information, common interests, and experiences.
It identifies 'personal chemistry' and matches users based on "common ground' to try and establish long-term, sustainable social connections. Connections are suggested so users can schedule a face-to-face with the person you choose.
Popular users can earn revenue from incoming calls, and the longer you chat for, the more potential revenue you can earn.
The company has created a patent-pending scheduling and automated video-calling technology that connects two parties simultaneously and privately.
The platform initiates calls to both parties without the need to share phone numbers or emails.
Users maintain control of their personal contact information to eliminate deception risks associated with social media platforms.
The app is currently only available for iOS users and costs $10 (£10) for each 45-minute call with a chum.
Users do get one free trial call when they install the app. Presumably, this will eliminate casual users who want to cruise the user base when bored.
Founder and CEO Moses Gotlieb explained why he has started Social Connection in 2019:
"Not knowing that a global pandemic could make Seechum's global release historical, the ability to connect individuals in isolated communicates from all over the world has become more relevant than ever before.
Even before COVID -19, our society was experiencing a massive loneliness epidemic. Social isolation became common, and we are encountering social media fatigue from constant exposure to biased content, influencer hegemony as well as mental health issues related to the unrealistic pressures of fitting in. People wish for a boundless world where they feel they can belong, and be accepted, just as they are."
This app -- dubbed the Netflix of social connections -- may well, as the company says, be an "experience of true freedom of expression, surpassing the exhausting burden of image and relationship management."
At $10 for each call with a closely matched stranger -- even if they are matched by AI -- might be too high a price to form a new connection, even though they might become a life-long friend.