Girls are without doubt the most sociable of the genders – we tend to enjoy talking to and meeting new people more than your average guy. (Of course there are exceptions to this and I apologise to those guys!)
Our love of hanging out and talking to people we like unsurprisingly translates online too. A recent Pew Research Center internet study reported that 71% of women use social media compared to 62% of men, and are twice as dependent on it, preferring it generally for social experiences, whilst men use it more as a means to an end, like business networking. (check out Mashable’s infographic of the results).
“men are adopting their use the fastest with women representing 65% of non-users“
But when it comes to the swathe of location-based “people discovery” apps that have been launching over the past couple of years, it appears that men are adopting their use the fastest with women representing 65% of non-users. Just compare the stratospheric growth of Grindr (the location-based app for guys to meet for dating and socializing) to over 4.5 million members against the struggle their hetero counterpart app Blendr have faced to gain mass adoption.
If girls are ever going to fully embrace people discovery apps, three core factors have to be taken into consideration – authenticity, control and safety. Regardless of whether the service is focused around dating, friendship or business connections, we (women) want to know that the others using the app are “real” and safe to meet up with, have a more controlled environment and a quick path to a safe, easy offline meeting.
At citysocializer, women organize and host over 70% of the socials each month and join as much to meet new female friends to hang out with as they do to find cool things to do with others - so making sure they’re happy is important.
“women organize and host over 70% of the socials each month”
In our goal for authenticity, real names are used over usernames, but surnames aren’t revealed and most significantly our joining policy is like a private members club whereby charging a monthly membership fee to be part of the community helps to preserve the quality of users, syphoning off a LOT of the undesirables and creeps who abuse the free apps by hitting up women.
In terms of control, most other people discovery apps use real-time location and “ambient” tracking running constantly in the background to engineer offline interactions as you go about your every day life. But, as a girl I’m un-comfortable with the prospect of strangers locating me in an app and approaching me at times and places that I can’t control. Women prefer to know who they’re going to be meeting and when before they actually meet, instead of “serendipitously” while we’re sweating it out in the gym.
With citysocializer we focus on “near-time” location over real-time location, where users join pre-organized socials happening tonight, tomorrow or beyond, controlling when they meet new people and where. And as socials bring groups of, on average, 8 to 10 new people together to have fun, this provides the added safety in numbers that other people discovery services just can’t offer women.
We still have ways we’re working on to improve on these areas too. But overall, location-based people discovery apps haven’t yet resolved the creepiness factor for girls – when they do though they’ll hit the jackpot!