Meghan Pottle | Staff Writer
Students are just now joining the party – and it has been sitting in their back pockets the whole time.
In 2015, Developer Alexander Herzick launched the application Houseparty, a group video chat that allows up to eight people to chat together in one room, which is a group of people. The app syncs with the user’s contacts and sends them push notifications every time their friends open the app and are in the house.
Users are able to see with whom their friends are chatting and can join their room if they choose. Likewise, if two people are chatting in a room together, any of the users’ friends can join, even if one may not be acquainted with the other person’s friends on the app.
Sophomore Sunny Patel said he uses the app every day.
“When I first got it, everyone was still new to it, so it was just a couple of my friends and we would talk,” Patel said. “Afterwards, I started using it for homework too. For homework, I get on like every night after football because a lot of sophomores get on to do homework together.”
Senior Destyni Dulin said she spends about seven hours on Houseparty on school nights and 12 hours on the weekends.
“You to talk your friends; you see what’s up with them,” Dulin said. “Last night, I made my friend feel really good. She had a breakup, so we were dancing on it and jujuing.”
Freshman Jensen Adleta said she had a strange experience when on Houseparty.
“I didn’t know that you could Facetime someone and Houseparty at the same time, so I answered and I thought it would just go out of Houseparty, but it didn’t,” Adleta said. “They could hear me talking to her, but I can’t hear them, so I can only hear the person on Facetime. When I was talking to my friend, they could hear everything I was saying and then I hung up with the girl on Facetime, and I realized I was still on Houseparty. They were like ‘What the heck were you saying?’”
Because users can see who their friends are chatting with on Houseparty and have the ability to join their room, they may meet new people from MHS.
Dulin said she met several people in the grade below her through Houseparty.
“Before I never talked to them, but now we are pretty good friends,” Dulin said. “My other friend was talking to them, so I just jumped in on their conversation and we started talking. We became friends on Houseparty and now, we are friends in real life.”
Senior Joey Bowlin said he has been able to catch up with friends he has not spoken to in years.
“Since high school started, I haven’t talked to a lot of people,” Bowlin said. “But then, I added them on Houseparty, so we have just talked even though we don’t talk that much (in person) because the school is so big and you don’t see them every day.”
Patel said he became friends with two MHS students he had not spoken to before when they joined his room.
“I met those two from another friend of mine and we were just talking, then they joined in,” Patel said. “That’s what I like about it. You can be open with anyone. Most people are always welcomed in as long as you are not too shy or too awkward. I am an open person, so I get to meet all these people, and they are chill and all fine.”
On Houseparty, there is a feature that allows users to lock the room they are in, so that no one else could join.
Patel said that because users can lock the room, other people on the app could possibly take that as social exclusion.
“Sometimes, me and my friends will be talking about something personal that we don’t tell anyone else,” Patel said. “These are things that happen in high school life. It could possibly have that effect on some people if they don’t realize what we are talking about, so they feel that way.”
Adleta said her boyfriend wants her to delete Houseparty because it takes up too much of her time, and he does not like how users can lock rooms.
“When you lock something, it makes people suspicious,” Adleta said. “It makes people feel like you don’t want them to come in because you’re afraid they are going to hear what you’re talking about. That’s why I don’t lock a room anymore because I didn’t realize that’s how it makes other people feel. Now, I realize I feel the same way when I see my friends in locked rooms and I am like ‘What are they talking about?’”
Dulin said if she could give any advice to people on the fence about getting the app, it would be this.
“If you do not have Houseparty, get it,” Dulin said. “I know some people are like ‘I don’t want to join the trend because I am so cool.’ But, you’re not cool. You’ll be cool once you get Houseparty.”