Wanna hang out? Nextt is the 'anti-social' network for real-life plans

Every group of friends has a hyper-organized, almost annoyingly persistent planner. The person who makes sure that everyone meets for brunch or game night (or a few rounds of drinks) at least once a month. That person now has a friend in Nextt, a new “anti-social network” that combines organizing, messaging, and socializing in one spot.

Start with the basics by brainstorming an idea on Nextt.

Plenty of social networks let you make plans on the spot, but it can quickly turn into a free-for-all and doesn’t work well for confirming times, making reservations, or any of the other boring details required for herding the cats you call your friends. (I’m sure they’re nice people.)

Nextt is opening its formerly invite-only doors to the public and launching an iOS app to make planning a little easier. The start-up is positioning itself as a “private network for close friends,” which sounds similar to Path, but Nextt is focused on encouraging those friends to go outside and actually hang out. While Path’s primary functions are messaging your friends and broadcasting your location, Nextt is designed to round up your friends in one digital location for the purpose of hanging out offline.

“Your in-person friends add so much to your life, yet they don’t really have a place that’s reached the mainstream,”said CEO Mark McGuire, who sold his last startup, Jellyfish, to Microsoft. “The way I connect with them isn’t chatting or sharing photos with them of things I’ve done, it’s putting my phone down and doing more together with those friends in the real world.”

It might sound counterproductive—a social network that wants you to get off the Internet—but Nextt’s features are actually useful.

How it works

Usually when you think of a fun idea—a concert you want to go to, a new restaurant you want to try, etc.—you have to send a mass text to find out who wants to come and when they’re available, then wait for the responses to trickle in.

Once you figure out what to do, you can start nailing down the details.

Not with Nextt. The app lets you save ideas or share them, pick a time and place to meet up, and invite people to come. If you want to wait to nail down a time until you get more input, you can choose a vague date (next week) and let people respond with availability.

Nextt doesn’t have any public inclinations—only the friends you’ve planned outings with can see your profile, and there’s no search-and-add function. You import your contacts to the app to send them texts or e-mails about plans. Your friends don’t have to sign up for Nextt to join in on the fun, but they will have to become members if they want to get updates on plan changes. Without a Nextt account, the site creates a ghost profile so they can still participate in the planning process.

There’s a little bit of pressure on your friends to engage in the planning process, too—Nextt tells the organizer who’s seen the invitation and if they’re in or out.

“When I get a Snapchat, I know the person who’s sent it knows I’ve opened it, and there’s a slight pressure to reciprocate that,” McGuire said. “I’m hoping Nextt will get more response rates than sending an e-mail.”

The app also features a “to do” list to remind you about invites you need to respond to or events you need to finish planning.

The “anti-social” network tagline is a little cutesy, but Nextt turns down the social pressure other networks encourage with their status updates and check-ins.

“A lot of these networks quantify our social status and turn our interactions into a game that can be measured—how many followers? Likes? Retweets?” McGuire said.

Nextt helps you get back to basics with a simple premise: Want to hang out?

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