New app Honk targets Gen Z with real-time texting

Honk is attempting to corner those weary of Facebook’s monopoly on mobile communication, offering real-time texting more akin to Snapchat than Messenger.

Ever sent a friend or potential love interest a risky message and regretted it? Perhaps a meme on the group chat that went down like a lead balloon? We’ve all been there.

A new mobile app called Honk is hoping to offer Gen Zers a happy medium between traditional texting services and the real-time, disappearing nature of Snapchat with its instantaneous messaging gimmick that allows users to communicate without anything being saved. The days of cringing over your unfortunate messages are over.

Users are notified when a friend is on the app and wanting your attention, and there’s even a ‘honk’ feature that gets the attention of the recipient via a flood of emojis and notifications.

It’s a call back to when you could ‘nudge’ people on MSN back in the day, though slightly more intrusive as you don’t even need to be on the app to be ‘honked’, if you will.

Once you’ve signed up you’ll see two large text bubbles that display typing and messages in real time. If you make a mistake the other person will be able to notice and you’re given 160 characters to work with, not too dissimilar to Twitter. There is no ‘send’ button, but rather a ‘refresh’ button that resets your screen and you can type something new. It’s certainly odd, but it gives a greater sense of immediacy and is closer to actual, real life conversation than other options.

You can also assign emojis to words and phrases with a feature called ‘magic words’, customise chat themes, and turn off notifications from specific users if you don’t want to be harassed – which is fair game, really.

It’ll be interesting to see how Honk fares with younger users. The app is clearly designed with Gen Z in mind, a demographic that religiously uses Snapchat and TikTok for quick and immediate content. The design is simple, blocky, and easy to understand, with an emphasis on disappearance and fleeting interactions – both important features for Gen Z.

No doubt we’ll likely see Facebook offer similar features in the future, though it may still be some time before the mainstream heavyweights adopt options that allow for disappearing messages. The messaging revolution is on its way – it just may take a while before your Nan is using any kind of ‘honking’ notification system.

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