Monday, May 11, 2015

The Texting Buddy BLOW OFF

Has anyone else heard of this phenomenon where two people meet on a dating app, exchange phone numbers, and then text constantly without ever making plans to meet in-person? My friend Stacie, 23, was recently matched with a guy on a dating-site-turned-app and they were texting 24/7 for almost two weeks. And it wasn’t just superficial stuff: he told her about personal details like his PTSD due to the military—all over text.

TechCrunch published an article in April about a new app called GetReal that only shows a photo, intro paragraph, and mutual contacts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. That’s it. You can’t message them, except to set the location to meet in-person. It’s like Happn in that it only shows people in the immediate vicinity. But it’s not just for dating—it’s for general networking, wanting to get to know people in your new neighborhood, conference attendees, etc.

The creator, Arnaud Meunier, first came up with it as a social experiment:

“I started this as a social experiment six months ago: what if we all stopped texting, and had an actual face-to-face conversation once in a while? For work or for fun, I just find it so much more exciting (and effective!) to drop the emoticons, and get to know each other, in person.

“Predicting the likelihood that a relationship will succeed before two people actually meet is not only time consuming, but also extremely difficult. And there’s probably never going to be a substitute for getting that two minutes from another person across a cup of coffee.”

I find texting to be a very convenient mode of keeping in touch with friends that I don’t see all the time or making plans with those I do see. But it’s so stripped of tone, inflection, and emotion, that having a baseline for someone’s personality is key to communicating in this mode. I text my friend of 14 years almost every day (she lives 5 hours away) and I STILL sometimes read something she writes the wrong way.

I can’t imagine getting to know someone via text without having a context of their personality, so I understand what Meunier is trying to accomplish. The app was just recently released in New York and San Francisco, so there’s no predicting if it will be successful. But I find it fascinating that we’re at a point where an app like this exists. Why can’t we just go up to our new neighbors or fellow conference attendees without vetting them?

Despite Stacie’s attraction to her texting buddy’s digital representation, she abandoned the prospect of something happening between them. In her words (it only seems appropriate that they were texted):

“I’m voting him out. He hasn’t made a move and it’s been two weeks. Make a move or not. I’m not here to be your texting buddy.”

2 comments:

  1. what's the story with guys who do this? My theory is they're already dating someone, but like to keep other women in the mix in case that relationship doesn't pan out. So, they're not asking out out cause that would be wrong, but they want to keep you in their orbit just in case.

    That said, did your friend ever pull the trigger and ask him out?

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  2. I wonder the same thing! That sounds like a valid theory. Another theory is that they aren't actually interested but enjoy the ego boost and attention. Just a theory though! No, she slowed down on the texting and it fizzled out.

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