Minding my silly little business with my silly little circle of humans
There comes a time when you’re just sick of the noise on social media. Every feed refresh bombards you with difficult headlines and weirder takes. The longer you stare at your phone, words blur together and appear as big blocks of text instead of digestible information. Sometimes, we just want a break from it all. That’s why the novelty of BeReal hasn’t worn off and why many still swear by their emotional support video games. No pretending, no curation, just pure vibes, honesty and stress relief, whatever these may be. Enter Bondee, another app that promises the same and more.
Launched by Singapore-based tech startup Metadream, Bondee is the new viral social media app that combines The Sims, Facebook and Instagram. Users can design their avatars and rooms—for free!—in this immersive virtual space. You sail the vast ocean and come out with treasures, such as new furniture or eye-catching accessories. Updating your status and poking your friends to oblivion sounds like a memory from 2009, but saying it in 2023 feels both nostalgic and new.
Mima Bondee Variant pic.twitter.com/zIIsFduSx0
— Samahan Ng Maraming Fans Ni Mima Sassa (@snmfnms) January 30, 2023
Here’s why it might just become my new favorite comfort app.
Honoring my childhood and escapism
Left: Kai’s Bondee Avatar, Right: Kai’s Bondee Space
Everyday, I find myself religiously taking time to change my avatar’s outfit and move them around my small space. There’s a therapeutic aspect to it all. Swiping and selecting bottoms, tees, hairstyles and accessories? All these remind me of my childhood when Club Penguin, Gaia Online and TinierMe occupied my hobbies list. And if I’m being honest, it feels like I’m honoring my younger self’s imagination and creativity, not letting the limitations of the real world stop me from thinking big.
Maybe it’s healing my inner child, maybe it’s also escapism. At age 14, my goal was to move into my own place in my early 20s. Long story short, I still live with my family and find it difficult to set that plan into motion. At least with Bondee, I get to do all that and more without worrying whether or not my spending priorities (because right now it’s making up for lost time) can accommodate the independent lifestyle I dream of. I still hope to find a place for myself IRL sooner or later, but for now, with inflation keeping things uncertain, I’m content with earning furniture from sailing and decorating virtual walls with photos from my Camera Roll.
Staying in my favorite loop
Left: Snapshots of “Offline Floating,” Middle: The “Neighborhood” in Bondee and Right: How a status update looks like
Entering Bondee offers a sense of control over what I want to digest. I get to mind my silly little business with my silly little circle of virtual humans. In this space, I feel no pressure to share photos or socialize with strangers online. (That’s what stan Twitter is for, okay?) Thanks to Bondee’s 50-person limit on friends—a number I doubt I will ever reach anyway—I get to choose those who can play with my avatar and my space. Likewise, I choose who to stay updated on, even if it’s the shallow shift from working all day to exercising.
With my list so far, I’ve been more comfortable sharing mundane updates about my life. These don’t need to be as groundbreaking as what we see on Twitter or Instagram—just lowkey enough for Bondee. This controlled setting of mindless pokes and status updates gives everyone this liminal space to say whatever and do whatever without the expectation of censoring things or providing context for every damn thing. God knows I need to stop oversharing through nine-tweet threads via Twitter Circle.
Some valid concerns
Bondee is a metaverse app which will eventually integrate crypto and NFTs.
This isn't a secret. The app is just very cleverly marketed so that it doesn't mention all this stuff.
Because Metadream knows words like “metaverse” and “NFT” are radioactive. pic.twitter.com/QWMMZU78XQ
— Burhan (@BurhanPlays) January 26, 2023
I don’t align with cryptocurrencies and NFTs, but I’ve learned to accept that I can’t entirely distance myself from platforms that endorse them. At least in this timeline. So the least I could do is opt out of the feature altogether. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have similar features, and I often just turn a blind eye—for my own sanity. The same thing goes when Bondee rolls these out—I’ll keep to my quiet little community thriving on free features until I get bored or the app shuts down. Whichever comes first.
In an era where Finstas and private Twitters aren’t marked safe from the perils of too much information, holding on to a mindless, quiet app feels like an anchor. When the fatigue has settled in my bones and my brain has rejected all the puzzle-solving other games offer, mindlessly tapping away at this virtual dream world is enough reprieve from it all.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver