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Friendsy application limits romantic options to University students

By Julia Liss, Daily Staff Reporter
Published September 4, 2014

Tuesday evening, a new social app called Friendsy launched on campus with a mission: to foster friendships and romance.

The app has features similar to Tinder and Yik Yak, but is limited to members of the University community by requiring all users to register with their University of Michigan e-mail addresses.

Friendsy users are shown each other’s profiles with a few pictures and some basic information, including class standing, gender and major. They are anonymously allowed to express interest in another user without the other user finding out, unless the match is mutual. Unlike Tinder, there is not a hot-or-not dynamic. Users can choose to indicate that they would like to become friends, hookup or date the other user.

The app was developed by two students at Princeton, Mike Pinsky and Vaidhy Murti, who started brainstorming ways for students to meet new people outside of their social circles. They launched the first version of Friendsy on the Princeton campus in 2013. The University is one of the campuses that is included in a push for Friendsy to reach 50 colleges.

There are currently 10,000 users and 150,000 mutual matches.

Though Pinsky and Murti’s friendship developed organically when they met while watching a Yankees game in the Princeton student union, they recognized that most students don't simply approach new people.

At other universities with Friendsy, more than 60 percent of mutual matches have been requests for friendship. The other chunk includes requests for hook-ups and dates. Overall, Pinsky said one of their goals is to avoid situations where people are set up for rejection.

“It removes the social risk of going up to someone and putting your neck on the line,” Pinsky said.

Once someone requests to connect with you, either as a friend, hookup or to date, you receive a notification and can request a “hint” about that person. The app will then show you a list of people who fit the criteria of the hint — for instance, if a sophomore requests to “friend” you, you will see a list of all University sophomores on Friendsy. If you don’t connect with the person who selected you, you will never learn their identity.

Engineering junior Greg Stearns, a campus rep for Friendsy, said one main difference between Friendsy and other apps is the requirement of a University e-mail address. Apps like Tinder, on the other hand, show potential matches based on geolocation.

Another component of Friendsy is a feature similar to the popular app Yik Yak, called Murmurs. Users can post comments anonymously or non-anonymously to the constantly updating Murmur feed, which other users can read and upvote. On Friendsy, users can also direct anonymous comments at a specific user, similar to mentioning someone in a tweet. Pinsky said the entire feature began as a way for users to compliment each other.

Pinsky added that Friendsy emphasizes moderating content to ensure users have a positive experience.

“On Friendsy, all content is moderated, so you’re never, ever going to have a negative experience,” Pinsky said, “The worst case scenario is you like someone who doesn’t like you back, but that’s sort of life sometimes.”


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