Penn State is clearly a massive university, and the process of meeting people with shared interests is often pretty daunting. A clever group of Penn Staters created the app Someonew, which aims to act as the virtual ‘mutual friend’ to help connect you to people across campus with whom you share mutual interests.
Recent criminology graduate Andrew Simpson and current IST junior Kenny Dundorf developed Someonew over the course of the summer. Though the app primarily targets students who may have a hard time putting themselves out there on a daily basis, Someonew invites all types of students to test the app and form new connections. Someonew links you to people with similar interests and sends you a push notification when you’re near them.
“I came up with the idea because I realized that most people that I knew do not have the confidence to just go up to someone and start a conversation,” Simpson said. “I think that people having the confidence to [do that]translates into other parts of their life.” Simpson attributes this everyday challenge to the fact that online interaction often seems to take the place of face-to-face conversation. The primary goal of the app is to help reverse that phenomenon, as well as build one’s confidence when talking to the strangers around them.
During initial tests of the concept, the shortest conversations with strangers were 45 minutes and the longest lasted nearly four hours. After a successful series of trials, the creators decided to begin building a comprehensive mobile app in order to help their fellow Penn Staters meet new people.
Penn Staters can now get the finished version of Someonew, and meeting potential pals is now as simple as downloading the app from either the iOS App Store or the Android Play Store. Users must sign up with their Facebook account, write a quick introductory bio, and select up to five interests from a list of 24. Possible interests available on the app include EDM music, football, various outdoor activities, and even politics or other current events. Because of the five-item limit, the app encourages users to only select the ones they feel passionate about or can talk extensively about with someone else.
Once you walk within 30 feet of someone with a shared interest, you, as well as the other user, receive a push notification that someone is nearby. However, the notification doesn’t show either user’s face until both people agree to meet up. This feature aims to lessen the anxiety that can come with meeting new people, as well as take away the fear of rejection.
So is Someonew a dating app? Yes and no. It’s meant to simply be a platform for meeting new people with any type of potential discipline. But of course, any relationship has the potential become more than just a friendship. It completely depends on how the user wishes to use the app, but Somenew doesn’t necessarily have the strong romantic undertone that accompanies apps like Tinder.
Simpson and Dundorf plan to improve the app throughout the semester by using Penn State as the test market. Once they receive the feedback necessary to make improvements to the app, they plan to expand to other universities around the country. Users can contact the Someonew team at [email protected] for more information, as well as for assistance with using the app.