Moovz: The Global LGBT Social Network – Interview with Idan Matalon
As gay social networking websites and mobile applications have seen tremendous growth over the past decade, many companies have entered the market with niche-driven product goals in mind. Applications like Grindr, Scruff, and Jack’d have dominated the geosocial mapping and hookup game, while content-heavy sites like Queerty and The Advocate report on international gay news and recent happenings.
Moovz has emerged as an innovative intersection between content sharing, social networking, and collaboration within the gay community, uniquely calling itself “The Global LGBT Social Network.” This platform takes an inclusive approach by involving all the letters of the rainbow, creating a safe space for ideas and interaction for everyone.
I recently had the chance to sit down with Idan Matalon, the VP of Marketing for Moovz, and ask him a few questions regarding the creative process behind building an LGBT-social networking app!
1. What is the primary mission of the Moovz initiative? How does it improve the lives of the global LGBT community?
We believe in communities, and in the endless power of a community, especially a global one. The LGBT community is one of the best examples in the world of a global community who shares ideas and thoughts, struggles and goals, the same culture, and hanging out in the same places. The idea is to make gay men and women from all over the world meet, share, consume content, and interact on the same platform to share their queer life – things that they can’t always do openly in any other network. We are already seeing many LGBT users connect and support each other in different ways as part of being who they want to be. We’ve also seen many couples who met through Moovz get married.
2. How does Moovz differentiate itself from other LGBT-geared online communities and applications? What makes this product unique?
Moovz is a social network; it wasn’t meant primarily for dating or hookups unlike other gay or lesbian apps. It is also not only a content hub like the LGBT portals, but it is all-LGBT-inclusive, unlike some groups or channels in mainstream social media. There isn’t a place like Moovz – where any LGBT individual can feel comfortable, share, connect and socialize. Of course there will obviously be dating-oriented connections created on Moovz, but when it happens in the right environment and in the right context it makes a big difference. We have seen dozens of LGBT couples getting married on Moovz, hundreds of others found their love on the platform, and thousands of other people made friends or met interesting people. This is what social networking is all about, and we proud to see it making this dream come true every day.
3. Your team utilizes many recognizable drag queens and personas in your advertising initiatives, including Willam Belli, Detox, and Manila Luzon (to name a few). How might these campaigns appeal to a larger global user base?
We’re living in a global world nowadays, and even the 3 you just mentioned have a significant audience in Latin-America, Europe, the far east and more. We cooperate with both local and global influencers, helping them reach the LGBT audience and helping our users to enjoy exclusive community content. We see influencers, and their part in creating community culture, as one of the important building blocks of a community – it’s a simple win-win between them and our users.
4. What internal and external human triggers might make Moovz a beneficial “habit” in the lives of prospective users?
The support one can get from his local or global community, the gathering around a common idea, the freedom to share meaningful things in your life without putting it in a “straight” filter, and the need to get updated on what’s going on in the community in any level.
5. Where are you now in the development stage of new features? Are there any upcoming releases you are allowed to disclose?
We have recently released 2 very important features we were working on over the last few months – one is our new and amazing chatting system, to include the very unique “group chat” feature. We now allow every user to create, manage, open, and close groups on any topic, invite people, share media in a free or limited way, and do it all outside of the public feed and profile.
6. Under the “Moments” tab there are a number of trending hashtags under which users can post pictures that other users can like or comment on. Is Moovz hoping that fostering engagement and relationships between users will increase utility and keep users coming back?
We believe that different initiatives makes different users come back, and it’s the community’s role to provide them this 360-degree environment. Some will come back to check out on a discussion they took part in, some to connect to other people, and others to check out their favorite topics. The ‘Moments’ is a tool for users to keep up with trending topics, and for influencers and organizations to cultivate moderated discussions in the right environment.
7. Moovz also allows users to set up personal profiles, complete with physical stats, pictures, recent posts, and other personal information such as sexual orientation. Is Moovz designed to be as much of a LGBT dating platform as a global LGBT online community?
Moovz is designed ultimately to serve as the social network of the global LGBT community. Dating is one of the uses of every social network, and obviously on Moovz as well, but this is certainly not the focus. We want to connect between people based on common interests and like minds, and if this connection will lead to a relationship that’s a great bonus for all.
8. The Moovz blog is an excellent collection of a wide diversity of global LGBT news, lifestyle trends, LGBT film roundups, and coverage of issues plaguing the LGBT community, such as the Chemsex epidemic. How would you describe the primary voice of the Moovz blog, and how does it reflect the larger mission of Moovz as an inclusive global LGBT online community?
We believe that a few of the main building blocks for a community, every community, are culture. Content and influencers carry the voice of the community and defining its character. Our recently launched ‘On The Moovz’ blog is meant exactly for this – to be the content hub of the global community, and to bring us all closer together, exactly like the larger mission of Moovz.
9. If you had to identify one “problem” in mainstream LGBT society today, what would this problem be, and how is Moovz trying to help the situation?
We identify the body pride and the agism as main things that need to be solved within the community, and we’re putting a lot of efforts in bringing up solutions for it. Everyone should be welcome in a community, regardless of their age, of how they look or of where and how they choose to live their life.
10. In Nir Eyal’s book entitled Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, he explains that “Variable rewards must satisfy users’ needs while leaving them wanting to re-engage with the product.” Does Moovz offer users variable rewards of this type? If so, what are they?
Moovz has no “loyalty plan” nor “untapped features”, We believe anyone should have access to anything, and we’re not judging people by their engagement within the community. Some will always share more than others, some will always be just listeners, and some are waiting for the right moment. We do believe that the content and the people behind it are the main thing, and by bringing the right content and connecting between the right users we will make user reengage.
11. Did your team study any motivational psychological theories or concepts around which your product was built? If so, what are they?
There is still much to be discovered in the field of online communities. Mainstream social networks are usually the ones used for this kind of research, and the fact that they actually virtualize existing real life connections is commonly ignored. We cooperate with several academic, national, and international research communities trying to lay together the foundations of defining the connections between an individual and the community he belongs to. That is, I believe, the most challenging part of our mission.
12. Where do you see Moovz in 5 years? In what ways are you hoping to make a lasting impact on the global LGBT community in the years ahead?
We see Moovz expanding to become the biggest online global community in the world, with tens of Millions of LGBT individuals sharing content, engaging, and connecting with each other. A place where ANY LGBT individual can feel welcome, where everyone can find answers to their needs, a content hub for the entire community, a place you must be in if you’re LGBT, and most importantly, a place that makes every member of the community feel welcome, loved, appreciated, and interesting, and to help people connect with each other.