With teens and young adults leaving Facebook in droves, it’s up to social networks like We Heart It to pick up the slack.
The new image-centric app is gaining a ton of traction with this highly-coveted target demographic, breaking the 25 million user mark and pulling in over a million new users monthly.
CEO Ranah Edelin spoke with Cult of Mac on the phone, and attributes this incredible growth to one thing: We Heart It is a safe space.
“Social networks mimic what happens in the real world,” he said. “There is a ton of bullying on them and they mimic popularity contests. Our users tell us they love We heart It because they can express themselves authentically without having to brag or worry about getting bullied.”
Edelin said that the We Heart It community was set up organically, from the limitations of the original service, created as a graphic designer’s web-based image lightbox. As the personal service expanded to friends and then the public, the basic nature of it–sharing pictures and “heart-ing” them–remained.
“This constrained design helps us,” said Edelin, “as we don’t allow comments on the service – if you add an image, you can only heart it, follow it, or ignore it.”
In other words, there’s no hate it option, nor is there a stream of invective in the form of malicious comments.
The service, says, Edelin, is “all about expression through images, which matches a macro trend around the digital web that is all about using pictures as the core unit of expression.”
Other networks like Instagram, Snapchat, and iFunny have similar means of expression, but We Heart It aims to be an inspirational place, not just somewhere to dump your pictures of meals or selfies.
Apparently, it’s working for the younger crowd, as well, with 80 percent of the We Heart It subscriber base predominantly female and aged 24 and under.
You can download We Heart It in the App Store now for free, and see what all the fuss is about. Maybe you, too, would like a kinder, gentler image-based social network.