What You Need to Know About Gas, the New Social App That's Been Acquired by Discord
UPDATE (January 17th, 2023): Discord has acquired the Gas social app. Discord hasn’t disclosed the terms nor the price tag, though we can infer that Discord is aiming to reach new audiences outside of gaming, their main audience (aside from web3 communities.) Gas will continue as its own standalone app for now. The Gas team (which reportedly consisted of 4 people) will be joining Discord to help Discord’s “efforts to continue to grow across new and core audiences.”
Social media applications have been shown to be highly harmful to teens, who are spending more time increasingly online. The leaked Facebook Files revealed that 38% of teen girls spending five hours online are clinically depressed. The New York Times reported the average daily screen time of teens (ages 13 to 18) to be 8 hours 39 minutes.
Overthrowing YouTube, teens spend more time watching TikTok than anything else. Do we need more social media platforms in the age of anxiety, depression, body image issues, and addiction? I ask you, can there be a better social media platform? Gas says yes.
Self-proclaimed an app “to compliment your friends,” the anonymous question-and-answer app Gas was first launched in August 2022. While it’s currently only available in 12 states (not including California), it’s still topping the App Store charts (the App is not available for Android yet.)
Gas (previously named Crush) was mainly created for teens—users can only interact with people they accepted as friends through polls. Polls are like year-book superlatives, all positive, with people voting anonymously. You collect coins as you answer polls and can use coins to see who answered specific questions. Unless you buy the pro version, “God Mode,” you can only know the gender and grade of voters.
Image credit: Gas App
The app hopes to foster positivity in a smaller social network. After BeReal’s success over the last couple of months, ‘genuine’ apps are getting more popular. In Gas, users can only answer and ask questions about their classmates, meaning the people they know.
Since the early days of the internet, the negativity was kindled by one main thing: Not knowing who the person across you is. When cursing on threads, you see the account across you as non-human, less than, without feelings. The person across is irrelevant to your argument and needs to be correct. In theory, that aspect of Gas could help with the toxicity of social media.
The founders are not new to tech. Nikita Bier founded tbh (a very similar app to Gas) about five years ago and sold it to Facebook. The other founders include Isaiah Turner (software engineer since early age, co-founder of Monkey) and Dave Schatz (prev. FB, part of Proof collective).
With no free-form messaging feature, Gas got 500,000 downloads since its launch date in August. The app says they will never sell or share personal information (and that they don’t even store it)
With all the questions on the app being positive, will it really produce good results and increase positivity among students? Will teens use the app for its intended use, to ‘gas each other up,’ or find a way to do what they want to do with the features they got? Difficult to say.
The concept reminds me of ask.fm we used in elementary/high school. It was mainly used to spread gossip or reveal crushes (and sometimes self-crushes to make it seem like you’re cool, lol.) You could write whatever in ask.fm, whereas Gas prompts and allows only for votes.
Instagram and TikTok have already unveiled their BeReal copies—“Dual camera” and “Time is Now,” respectively. It won’t be late until the market leaders also grab what they can from Gas.
Who do you think will implement this idea first?