Feeling Lonely? Yubo’s a Popular Place To Meet New Friends

Feeling Lonely
Feeling Lonely

At a time when the digital landscape is teeming with social media platforms, younger people admit to feeling lonelier than ever. It’s a strange paradox. The second annual Cigna U.S. Loneliness Index stated that 73% of young adults aged 18-22 reported sometimes or constantly feeling alone. Even for the most prolific influencer, logging on to discover loads of “likes” and “follows” can feel like a fleeting fulfillment.  

Yubo, the live social discovery app with 75 million users, bucks that superficial trend, offering Generation Z a unique take on social media. It’s all about helping Gen Z members expand their social circles by making friends, not followers, and hanging out online through livestreaming, gaming, and messaging. Unlike other social media options, the platform doesn’t have influencers or likes, so users can feel free to be authentic.

“One of Yubo’s goals is to connect teenagers and young adults by enabling them to meet new people online and make friends,” stated Sacha Lazimi, CEO and founder.  

Its cutting-edge streaming technology gives users the ability to join real-time livestream chatrooms. The platform allows Gen Z to socialize authentically with friends just as they would offline. They can talk about everything from their favorite games and musical artists to the issues they’re dealing with in their daily lives.  

Making authentic connections is extremely important when, according to the United States Surgeon General, we’re in the grip of a loneliness epidemic. Alienation and solitude can lead to mental health issues and increase the risk of depression and anxiety.   

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, stated, “Our epidemic of loneliness and isolation has been an underappreciated public health crisis that has harmed individual and societal health. Our relationships are a source of healing and well-being hiding in plain sight — one that can help us live healthier, more fulfilled, and more productive lives.” 

Murthy continued, “Given the significant health consequences of loneliness and isolation, we must prioritize building social connection the same way we have prioritized other critical public health issues. Together, we can build a country that’s healthier, more resilient, less lonely, and more connected.”

Gen Z’s Relationship With Social Media

Social media has become a part of the younger generation’s daily routines. According to one report, 56.9% of the world’s population — nearly 5 billion — utilize social media. According to a report from Techopedia, in the United States, Gen Z spends approximately 3 hours a day on social media. And millennials are close on their heels, since they spend approximately 2 hours and 35 minutes every day on assorted social media platforms. 

Facebook has nearly 3 billion monthly active users, and YouTube has 2.5 billion active monthly users. However, TikTok garners the highest average monthly use per user since each user spends approximately 23.5 hours per month on it. Even so, most popular social media platforms offer few genuine interaction and engagement opportunities. The user tends to act as an observer.  

Lazimi stated, “I read that people [on other platforms] with more than 200 followers are more likely to say they felt pressure about the way they look than those with fewer followers. This resonated with me — so unlike other social media apps, Yubo is urging our users not to be a follower and instead socialize online in an authentic way and create genuine online interactions without the pressure of how many followers they have. Be a real friend, not a follower.”  

By avoiding popular approval metrics such as likes and followers, the live social discovery app allows users to reveal themselves honestly and make authentic friendships devoid of the pressure of performance. Since it serves teens and young adults, user safety is the linchpin of the platform.  

It’s guided by a board of safety experts comprised of thought leaders from Thorn, Interpol, and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The platform was the first major social media in the world to use real-time audio and video moderation for livestreams. It also uses various security tools, including separating users into communities based on age. 

Yubo Fosters Authentic Friendships

Since launching in 2015, the live social discovery app’s model has been inspired by how people interact in the real world. And it works. For example, in 2021, it helped bring together two London-based young women, Angelica and Mjay. They bonded over shared political beliefs during a livestream session.  

Angelica said, “It’s broken down the stigma for me 100%. You can make genuine friendships online. This is probably one of the best friendships I have made in a very, very long time. We have the same interests and just bonded and clicked straight away. It just feels right.”  

Mjay added, “I felt safe communicating and streaming on Yubo. I never thought I would make a friend during lockdown, but Angel is one of my closest friends. I’m so much more open to making friendships online now I have had such a good experience.” 

In Australia, Sarah, 20, joined the live social discovery app during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns to speak to fellow Aussies. “Living in a regional town in [New South Wales] can be isolating, so it has been incredible to find a digital community where everyone can feel connected and form genuine friendships regardless of where they are in the world,” she stated.  

Yubo acknowledges social media platforms’ obligation to cultivate a healthier, more inclusive online experience for young people. It embraces a user-education philosophy to enlighten about online safety best practices, accountability, and respectful online behavior. And the live social discovery app feels it’s necessary for all social media companies to join forces and work together to act in the best interests of its users.  

“I’ve worked with Yubo putting live interventions in place to help prevent its users from putting themselves at risk. This is an important step change in the child online safety arena and one that other social media companies should consider following,” stated Annie Mullins, co-founder of the Trust & Safety Group and a member of Yubo’s trust and safety board. “The more real-time interventions with young people that take place, the more we’ll be able to support and educate them. Young people make mistakes  —  that’s part of growing up  —  but it’s important that social media providers offer safety nets for them and nudge them in the right direction when their behavior could put them at risk.” 


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