When Phillip Duong, Andres Santana and Sidao Li surveyed the social networking website landscape, they noticed that the connections made on those sites often seemed shallow and superficial. Attributing it to the fact that most social networking sites require users to post a photo of themselves, the two began looking for a way to create more personal and intimate connections. In the process, they asked themselves a bold question: What if physical appearance was taken away from the equation of making new connections?
Their answer came in the form of a new social networking app they created that allows people to connect based on their mutual interests rather than just physical appearance. It’s called the Penguin App, and it provides a fun way for people to connect anonymously through their thoughts, opinions, and confessions rather than their latest photo. Designed to introduce people to each other on a more personal level, Penguin enables users to focus on creating real bonds rather than the superficial conversations that occur on so many social networking sites.
What’s the Problem?
Personal photos can provide transparency and authenticity to a site. But they can also lead to distractions, prejudices and superficial judgments that hinder the growth of potential connections. Duong, Santana and Li wanted a medium where people could truly express themselves without worrying about how they might be judged based on appearances.
“We were frustrated with all the social networks that rely entirely on users’ pictures to attract attention and create new connections between people,” says Duong, Co-Founder of Penguin App. “Plus, a lot of social applications are more about sex and narcissism than making meaningful connections. We wanted to create a platform that would restore the original promise of social discovery.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Penguin is designed for people who want to create deeper connections by talking with another person about anything they want, whenever they want. Unlike most social networking tools, Penguin allows users to remain completely anonymous, enabling them to comfortably share their thoughts without fear of judgment. However, it also contains a “reveal” option, so that when they are ready, two connected people can mutually reveal their identities.
Penguin enables users to find and connect with like-minded people, based on their geographic location. Users can also manage their preferences by distance, age, gender and other settings.
Where Is It Headed?
For now, Penguin is still in the beta testing phase. In fact, Duong, Santana and Li are planning to launch an exclusive beta test in the fall of 2015. Those interested in participating in the Penguin beta test can sign up on www.thepenguinapp.com.
“Our platform creates a place where people are introduced to one another on a more intimate level, and can focus on creating a meaningful connection rather than just small talk,” says Calvin Feng, a Penguin App spokesperson. “We hope that Penguin can become a solution for people who long for a deeper connection, so that anyone can mutually talk about anything whenever they want.”