Friendship Apps Are On The Rise
Isadora Teich wrote this article
Everyone knows about dating apps.
In fact, people have been meeting romantic partners online since the start of the internet.
While in the 90s, this was considered a slightly unconventional, borderline controversial thing to do, with many people suspicious of meeting others online, now the digital world acts as an natural extension of our physical social lives.
What used to be considered strange or risky is on its way to becoming the default
In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it was found that heterosexual couples are more likely to meet a romantic partner online than in any other way.
A 2017 survey of American adults and found that about 40 percent of heterosexual couples met their partner online, compared to 22 percent in 2009. In the days of the pandemic, this is probably only on the rise.
It only makes sense that in this kind of environment, people would seek to make friends online as well. More and more friendship apps are popping up all the time, and they are making waves amongst businesses and investors.
Let’s Take A Look.
Friendship Apps Are Big Business
Fortune Magazine reports that Match Group, the company that owns dating app Tinder, agreed to acquire Hyperconnect, a South Korean app developer that creates friendship apps.
This was no small exchange.
This acquisition included about $1.7 billion in cash and stock for the owner of the Azar and Hakuna Live apps.
It makes sense that Tinder would branch out. They have saturated the digital dating market globally. It has almost become the branded digital dating default, people around the world talk about swiping left and right casually, and Tinder Horror Stories have become a whole popular genre of online content on their own.
The fact that Tinder considers friendship apps to be the next big thing is likely a powerful indicator of where things are heading.
In fact, there are already many popular friendship apps.
Why Have Friendship Apps Taken Off?
While you might expect Gen Z or Millennials to be the only ones to take to new apps with gusto, this stereotype is largely obsolete.
Almost every publication out there right now has some kind of article rounding up and recommending friendship apps.
This includes publications like Cosmopolitan and the Oprah Magazine, which are not geared toward the TikTok generation at all.
In fact, in their article, 12 Friendship Apps That’ll Help You Meet New People, Oprah Magazine opens up their recommendations with this:
“It used to be that making new pals was as easy as recess in the schoolyard. Adulthood, however, poses its own obstacles to finding your ride or die—the least of which are crammed schedules, parental duties, and not wanting to leave your comfort zone, especially if you’re an introvert.”
Even before the pandemic, many people were wanting to branch out and meet new people, but found it a difficult task in the midst of all of the complications of life.
This includes people of almost all ages and at all stages of life. Especially if you are on the introverted side, these types of apps can be a lifesaver. Not all of us are built to walk into a bar or party where we don’t know anyone and make friends with everyone instantly, after all.
When it comes to friendship apps, there are actually many different ones to choose from. One of the most popular so far is Bumble BFF.
Bumble As An Answer To The Problems of Tinder
Bumble is a dating, networking, and friendship app that is considered to be the feminist answer to Tinder.
While you cannot deny the success of Tinder, an app with almost 6 million users spread throughout nearly 200 countries, that does not mean it does not have its issues.
In fact, men verbally abusing women on Tinder is so infamous that it has become a widespread series of internet memes. Tinder is even trying to address the issue using AI.
Bumble has tried to correct this somewhat by changing the structure of how connections are made. When you use Bumble, women have to message men first if they want to speak with them.
Traditional gender norms dictate that men must always make the first move, and Bumble flips the script.
There are some definite pros to this for both men and women. It gives women a sense of control. Much of the discourse surrounding Bumble online is that it’s a great option for women who want to feel safer in the online dating space.
Many women simply have never felt safe on any online dating app. Also, it takes the pressure off men to live up to stereotypes of masculinity and always make the first move.
This has been wildly successful.
Founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd recently became the youngest self-made billionaire ever at only 31 years old after Bumble went public on the US stock market. Share prices nearly doubled in a day after the announcement.
Bumble BFF is a portion of the app focused solely on making friends. Also, something interesting to note about Bumble’s brand, is that it has always been a place geared towards women to make all kinds of connections on their own terms.
While Tinder has a reputation as being a hookup app, even though this is not exactly true, Bumble has always had much broader messaging.
Wow, the outpouring of love and support for @Bumble, our team, and our IPO is so overwhelming and appreciated. I can’t wait to tell my son one day. Hopefully by the time he can understand, women and mothers leading public companies will be the norm, not the exception. #BumbleIPO pic.twitter.com/M5EVEqqaXL
— Whitney Wolfe Herd (@WhitWolfeHerd) February 12, 2021
Other Friendship Apps
While Bumble has made huge strides as a response to some of Tinder’s infamous issues and somewhat seedier reputation, other friendship apps have taken the approach of appealing to different niches or getting specific in other ways.
For example, the app Hey! Vina, another app designed by women for women, has users take an in-depth personality quiz and helps to create friendship matches based on that. This is a significant departure from apps like Tinder or Bumble, which simply has users make a profile with as much or as little information as they like.
Others have taken a more niche approach.
For example, the app Atleto helps you find local athletes that share your interests to work out or play sports with.
Meet My Dog helps local dog lovers connect with each other.
Peanut is an app that specifically connects mothers and moms-to-be. If you simply want to find out what kinds of events are happening in your community, you can try Meetup.
It only makes sense that over time, as more and more of our lives become app-integrated, we will use apps to meet people for all sorts of reasons. If you think about it, in less than 30 years, we have gone from meeting online being almost taboo, to it being one of the main ways that people connect.
The diversity of apps, different approaches to them, buzz, and big strides in the world of culture and business globally are a testament to this huge shift. It is not difficult to imagine that in a few years studies on digital friendship connections will show similar trends as those on digital romantic connections.
What do you think of friendship apps? Have you tried any of them?
Talk to me.
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