'Beta Test': The Social Media Move That Comes Before The Soft Launch

By now, you've probably heard of the relationship "soft launch," and you may have even done it yourself. If you need a refresher, soft launching your relationship on social media is where you tease a new partner to your online followers before officially announcing that you're a couple. Soft-launch photos and videos typically show a mysterious hand or other body part without revealing your new boo's face and other identifying features.

Soft launching has become the standard for new relationships, replacing overt moves like changing your relationship status or posting a selfie of you and your significant other cheesing for the camera together. These days, it's all about crafting your mystique and leaving them guessing while still making it kinda, sorta clear that you're no longer single.

However, the soft-launch-to-hard-launch pipeline isn't the only way to start posting about your newfound love on social media. According to TikTok, the "beta test" is the crucial phase that allows you to preview your crush in an even more subtle way than soft launching. Here's how to beta test your new partner on your profile and why it makes sense.

Beta testing lets you post about your relationship, without giving too much away

Beta testing may be a term thrown around in the business and tech spheres, but head over to TikTok and you'll realize it's started to take on a whole new meaning. In a viral video, content creator Lisa Wei describes the relationship beta test as "the stage before soft launching." As the TikToker explains, you and your love interest don't have to be an official couple yet to beta test — all you have to do is hang out, go on some cute dates, and take pics for the 'Gram. The catch: Don't expose a single body part of your partner in the photos.

Compared to soft launching, beta testing makes it unclear to followers whether you're going on romantic dates, spending time with friends, or just flying solo in your selfies. Wei's personal examples include a clip showing two cocktails, a photo of herself taken by a mysterious untagged photographer, and a pic of a red rose that didn't disclose the gifter.

The concept of beta testing has started to take off, with other users, such as Avery Brynn, making their own TikTok videos about it, and commenters are mostly on board. "I cannot wait to have an individual to beta test," reads one popular comment on Wei's clip.

Why bother with beta testing?

While many TikTok users are taking notes and ready to try the beta test next time they date someone new, others expressed doubt that the social media stage really matters for new relationships. "I just don't think people look into things or care enough to wonder if you're with someone when you post yourself doing activities," wrote one commenter on Avery Brynn's clip.

But besides piquing your friends' curiosity, beta testing might be a smart way to date someone new without adding unnecessary pressure to make things work. If you've already made it clear to others that you're seeing someone, you may feel a need to stay together to save face. Beta testing, on the other hand, is vague enough that there's still a way out if you start to notice red flags. It also allows you to post date night content without having to field questions about your new special someone.

Additionally, the social media move embraces taking things slow, which could pay off later. "A longer dating period enables more space to understand what works and doesn't work between you, the process is more collaborative because you have the time to work on things together," Holly Roberts, a relationship counselor at Relate, told Refinery29. Beta testing supports this, allowing you two time to get to know each other without rushing into labeling things or flaunting your coupledom to the world. Then, when you're mutually ready, you can move toward the soft launch phase.