FlexTime lets you pretend you’re friends with Post Malone and …

FlexTime lets you pretend you’re friends with Post Malone and …

FlexTime wants to help people look cooler than they are by fooling others into thinking they are friends with celebrities like Post Malone and Billie Eilish.

The app allows users to simulate a FaceTime call by using clips from various live streams and Instagram stories posted over the past year. The clips are saved using a basic screen recorder and then played back as a standard FaceTime call that users can interact with to create their own video.

The idea started as a possible stunt for MSCHF, the Brooklyn creative agency. However, it quickly picked up speed as the team began to realize just how important FaceTime was to a generation of kids, says strategist Daniel Greenberg. The edge.

“Millennials are focused on texting,” Greenberg says of the generation now being replaced by today’s teens. “Everyone my age and younger is always FaceTiming.” I’ve been to a lot of bars in Brooklyn and pretended I was talking to Post Malone and people have believed it. ”

FlexTime is rooted in what Mel Magazine defined as “spontaneous FaceTime”. The new trend concerns mostly people under the age of 25 who prefer to call a friend on FaceTime to talk or ask a question rather than to send text messages. (Comparatively, I am 27 years old and I taught my mother to send text messages to avoid any kind of vocal communication.)

The popularity of video calling is representative of a generational divide, but is also heavily influenced by the way Gen Z musicians, influencers, and celebrities treat apps like Instagram and Snapchat. Artists like Post Malone or the late Lil Peep often initiate a random Instagram broadcast several times a week to have conversations with fans, rather than posting a carefully curated post or photo. The first is more raw and real, the second more superficial and traditional.

Teens have gotten used to talking to their friends face-to-face (through a rectangular phone) and are now experiencing their favorite influencers in the same way. FlexTime builds on that desire by allowing people to create the illusion for friends and strangers that they are part of this world and engage with their favorite artists and celebrities in similar ways.

It is a two-way street, according to Greenberg. People who download the app want to be able to fool their friends or create funny videos, but influencers are seeing the benefit, too. Five Instagram and YouTube influencers, KushPapi, Milan Mirabella, Tydus Talbott, Bryce Hall and Joey Birlem, are working with FlexTime to create individual landing pages where fans can use exclusive simulated FaceTime conversations.

The five influencers have more than 10 million followers and subscribers combined across various platforms. Their careers depend on an active and engaged fan base, and this is a way to maintain an active parasocial relationship, in which fans feel a non-reciprocal level of intimacy with a creator or celebrity. Greenberg said The edge that “some celebrities and influencers saw immense value in this feature,” adding that his team is working with the creators mentioned above to “try it out next week to see how it goes.”

“Everyone my age and younger is always FaceTiming.”

FlexTime is designed to be used for silly fun, but after recorded videos are used for malicious purposes, it raises important questions about how and for what purpose video footage can and should be used. Greenberg said the team thought about how bad actors might use the tool during the one-year development cycle. He said The edge that his team “scanned the audio carefully” to make sure it couldn’t damage the reputation of a famous or influential person if, for example, someone maliciously wanted to edit a misleading quote using real-life audio.

“Let’s say we had a video of a celebrity saying nothing, just nodding in agreement,” Greenberg said. “In that case, someone could make a video that says something incredibly racist and the celebrity nods their head to suggest they agree. We thought about that and made sure none of the videos fell into that category. We thought about that. all the ways this could go wrong and we act against it. ” However, it is likely that if the application gains popularity, some users will find ways to abuse the system; The FlexTime development team may not have foreseen everything.

FlexTime is available now. There is a browser version for anyone to use, but people cannot directly share their recordings. There is also a mobile version through a third-party application called Monkey. It allows people to share their recordings directly on Instagram or Twitter. There are about 25 celebrities to choose from in the browser version, and about 40 in the mobile app. Greenberg is hopeful that more celebrities and influencers will be added soon.