More to Bondee than meets the eye
It’s dominating TikTok and IGS feeds now, but whether Bondee can withstand the test of time remains to be seen – especially in light of recent controversies.
We are barely into the new year but there is already a new trend grabbing everyone’s attention.
By now, most of us would have noticed the influx of social media posts showing avatars in doll-like packaging, or QR codes requesting in-app friendship. At least, that’s what filled up my Instagram stories in the past week.
This latest trend is Bondee, a mobile application launched early this year by Singapore-based tech firm Metadream. The app allows for users, each represented by an avatar, to interact and socialise.
Initially, I was apprehensive about downloading Bondee as I thought it was a simple decorating game. But soon enough, I was convinced by the people around me that this could be a new and fun medium to communicate and send status updates.
With just a few hours of exploring the app, I figured that the appeal of Bondee likely lies in the customisation and personalisation features. The process of dressing my character up in clothes I wished I owned, and decorating the room I’ve always wanted felt cathartic.
Other features of Bondee that stood out to me include the status update function. Users can select their preferred actions or emotions and the avatar will enact accordingly.
As much as this is a virtual platform, there are several functions that integrate real-life elements. These help to provide some personal touch — something I appreciate.
Users can decorate their virtual rooms with photo frames containing pictures from their own media gallery. Status updates can also feature videos and photos.
You can even visit your friends’ rooms and leave post-it note messages. I found fun in pranking some friends by covering their walls with many post-its, disrupting their decor and ruining the aesthetics of their room.
Bondee also has a messaging platform, similar to Whatsapp and Telegram. Its features include creating group chats, emoticons for you and your friends’ avatars to perform, and the ability to ‘poke’ your friends (psst…2000s’ Facebook wants its feature back).
However, as the app is still in its early stages of development, there have been some bugs and issues that affect its usability.
Several users have shared that they do not receive any notifications from Bondee despite turning them on. I’ve also faced this notification issue, causing me to miss out on messages. Until that is fixed, you might just want to stick to your usual messaging apps for important communication.
As someone who enjoys character-curating games, Bondee does evoke some fond memories as it is reminiscent of some of these games. One of which is Zepeto – a South Korean mobile chat app released in 2018. Users would similarly create and interact with others online as 3D avatars.
Unfortunately, controversies began to surround Zepeto when users alleged that the app tracked and recorded user interactions and data from phones. In similar fashion, Bondee has found itself plagued with such allegations.
Just a few days after Bondee grew popular, rumours began spreading that Bondee would steal personal user information such as credit card details to make unauthorised transactions.
When this controversy surfaced, many users deleted the app as quickly as they first jumped on the bandwagon.
Bondee then denied these claims through a statement, assuring users that the app is safe to use.
Despite clearing up the data misuse accusations, another concern soon emerged — the introduction of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to the platform.
NFTs are often met with criticisms due to how volatile and uncertain the space is. And since Bondee users can be as young as 13 years old — it raises concerns of how they might not fully comprehend the way NFTs and crypto currency work, and could end up spending beyond their means.
With these controversies and potential pitfalls, the future of Bondee is at risk. I, too, wonder if it can stand the test of time.
Furthermore, Bondee faces stiff competition with many other apps offering similar functions. The idle nature of the app may also bore users in time to come.
Unless Bondee can present fresh and enticing functions, such as minigames, it might be hard to keep the hype train going.
Ultimately, Bondee can still be a fun app to explore with friends. Users simply have to be alert and discerning of possible dangers.
I will continue to dress my avatar up and ‘poke’ my peers in the meantime.