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Facebook with benefits: apps provide a new way to meet people in your area

By Billy Rafael
On February 4, 2013

It's hard to believe there was a time when the only way to meet new people was to go to public places and actually interact with strangers. The technology-crazy world we now live in has all but completely eliminated that process, and thanks to all the new apps available designed to connect people textual relationships are thriving.

Exhibit A: Tinder. This newly-released phone app is taking college campuses by storm. For those unfamiliar, the function of the app is to help you find people in your area you might enjoy meeting.

After setting a radius and preferred gender, Tinder uses your Facebook interests and mutual friends to pull up people for you to vote on. You can see several of their pictures and minimal information about them, such as first name and age, leaving you then to simply select either yes or no.

All the while, other users are doing the same with your profile. If you and someone else both select yes for each other, only then can you begin messaging back and forth. What you choose to do after is completely up to you.

Grindr is essentially the same thing but targeted for gay men. It doesn't feature the same approval system as Tinder, though; it simply shows you the other users in your area and allows you to message them.

While both apps are marketed as ways to simply meet new people, one can't help but wonder if they can be for hooking up. The implication is there, just not explicitly.

Cue Bang With Friends, a new Facebook app that is exactly what its name suggests. For those too scared to try the app but still curious about how it works, its website hosts a handy diagram (paired with instructions on how to put on a condom) with the simple steps: sign in with Facebook, pick the friends you want to bang, message each other, and then, well, I'm guessing you can figure out the last step. Basically it is Tinder with more clearly stated intentions.

"It's not so much a way to bypass going out as it is a backup plan," a sophomore user of Bang With Friends who asked to remain anonymous said. "At the end of the night, if you've struck out you can hit up your matches and see who else did."

So it doesn't appear that Uptown will be any less rampant with people looking for someone to spend the night with. Many of these app users actually have no intention of connecting with anyone.

"I don't use Tinder, but I know that some of my friends use it as an ego boost," junior Alex Busch said. "They don't contact anyone, they just want to see who says yes to them."

First-year Ed Krulewitch thinks that the fulfillment comes more from the act of choosing yes or no, similar to the appeal of websites like HotOrNot.com.

"I think Tinder has become so popular because it satisfies our natural need to shallowly judge others," Krulewitch said. "Tinder allows us to discreetly judge a book by its cover from the safety of our phone."

Whether its for an ego boost or just to kill time, it seems as if these apps are harmless as long as users are careful about who they are contacting and where they meet up with up with people, and for those with risqué intentions, remember to be safe. Just don't forget that there's no better way to really get to know someone than through true conversation.


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