When I’ve been skiing in Switzerland this year, I noticed a curious new habit. It seems as if the country has been struck by a new viral craze – and no, I don’t mean Corona, but this one starts with a “C” too. With its freaky and funny challenges, the challenge community app Castl is already stirring up the social media scene in German-speaking countries, while still in beta phase.
Once you’ve noticed it, it’s suddenly everywhere: Young people, who start yodeling in the middle of the street. Girls suddenly taking a turn to walk into a shop window on purpose. A group of skiers collectively falling on their knees right on the slope and performing some sort of ritual that involves a lot of snow. Always being filmed by a friend’s smartphone or filming themselves, always flashing their fingers forming a “C” to the camera. The C stands for “Castl” (without an e), as I learned from four Germans, who had asked me to film them downing a few beers in a bar for a “Down-Your-Beer-Challenge”. Now this is what I call commitment. Watch out, TikTok and Insta: This app hasn’t even been officially released yet and its community has already established a signature move.
So what is it all about? According to the description in the app stores, Castl is “the world’s first true challenge community” and the first social media app, where Likes have real value – in shape of stars, which you can win in the challenges or receive from other users for your content. Users may swap their stars for all sorts of gadgets, but also donate them to charitable projects. So in a nutshell, it’s a community where you can do all sorts of crazy things for good causes. In every challenge, the winner automatically donates a share of his profits to one of the NGOs registered in the app, which include for example the “Project Blue Sea”, the Children’s Fund or MyClimate.
Castl is the brainchild of Marnus Flatz, an Austrian software wiz with an already impressive history of innovative developments in the infotainment sector. And who has even gained rock star fame as a musician with his stage name Aaron Roterfeld. With Castl, he might add “unicorn founder” to his CV pretty soon.
The committed users of this app at least appear very eager to spread the word. For now, I still had to disappoint the four beer downers that I couldn’t join in and vote for their challenge effort with my British phone. So far, the roguish fun app is only available for users in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. But this could change soon: Rumour has it that the global launch is ahead – and I can hardly wait for Castl to challenge the social media scene on a large scale. Buckle up for this.