Houseparty: Bringing Drama to Friend Groups Near You


Courtesy of the Verge We all have that annoying friend who confuses simply becoming aware of social gatherings as an invite to said social gathering. There is little to no hesitation in showing up unannounced. Houseparty is the app version of this friend. Houseparty is a social networking app that allows users to group FaceTime by inviting friends into a video chat. It’s different from other apps, though, because you can invite yourself into any video chat with which you have mutual friends. You can now meet new people with out ever having to leave your bed.

After deleting enough selfies and screenshots from my phone’s storage, I downloaded Houseparty. I probably subjected myself to excessive junk mail by providing my email to link to my username. New to the app, I was unaware of which type of username to adopt. Was this an AIM screen name-type situation, Club Penguin and Webkinz, a personal email for official uses, or all of the above? There didn’t seem to be much user privacy involved here, so I took the AIM screen name route, which I have already forgotten. I was then harassed by a long series of steps and requests to complete my account, at which t point it seemed like this app was asking a lot from me for a relationship and I was already wary of how long it would last.

Houseparty takes into account the frightening shock of seeing your own face on the front facing camera, so random facts are displayed on the screen to cover it. This helps prevent any reluctance you may feel in starting a group video chat due to an unfortunate appearance, because you are physically unable to see the extent of your ugliness. After learning that ninety-six percent of U.S. households have ketchup and wondering what condiments the other four percent use, I was told I should add friends to start a party. Not only do I not like being told what to do, but I also did not know what the protocol was here. Do I only add people I genuinely want to talk to? I added everybody, because why not.

Now that I had friends to talk to, I adjusted the angle of the camera to eliminate some of my chins and awaited an invite. But apparently that’s not how this works. Houseparty requires its users to take initiative. When someone is “in the house,” you “join” their conversation with the click of a button. If they’re not “in the house”, you can “wave” at them to indicate that you want to chat. And don’t worry about being left in the dark about a gathering. Houseparty vigilantly notifies you with push notifications whenever anybody is “in the house”. My high school social life would have played out very differently had this been the case for those kinds of house parties.

HouseParty eliminates the investigative aspect of iChat—when you’d scroll down your buddy list to see who was in a video chat, and then cross-examine other users who also had that faded green camera next to their screen name. You’d place your bets on who was “vcing” with who, and suspicions were confirmed when both faded green cameras brightened back up. HouseParty puts your friends on blast by providing you with such information below their names on your buddy list, because it’s 2016 and there’s no hiding. Houseparty progressively answers Black Chyna’s question to Rob Kardashian, “Are you still texting bitches, yes or no?” Nine times out of ten*, bitches are still being texted.

With great power also comes great opportunity. The ability to join a chat without needing to be accepted into it is just as dangerous as it is enticing, because you don’t know who else is already there. This isn’t ChatRoulette or Omegle where you can just click “next” when a penis, or your ex, invades the screen.

Houseparty is the new group chat, which was the new chat room, which was the new 3 way phone call, so on and so forth. As time goes on and technology progresses, we’ll be finding new ways for tween girls to ambush their friends, promote awkward encounters, and rehashing the previous night, all without leaving our beds. So it’s only a matter of time until DPS breaks up this Houseparty.



*= A statistic I made up