This past Saturday night I had the great privilege to host a group date at the Noddinghead Brewpub in Philadelphia, PA. As some of friends & colleagues already know, I have been working as the Lead Developer for Ignighter.com for the past 6 months. Ignighter is an online ‘group dating’ service, aimed at young people who have just left college, moved to a big city, and having a tough time meeting fun new young people.
I’d always knew, since I first sat down with Dan and Adam, that group dating as a webservice had major potential. It’s already a huge phenomenon in Japan, where young people go out on ‘compa dates’. I mean, on an intellectual level, it just makes sense. Meeting people with your group of friends is safer, less awkward, and more fun than one-on-one meetings.
But, this Saturday night, I realized, on a whole new level, how much potential there is for group dating in America. The date this weekend was fun. And, I mean, F-U-N. For the two years I lived in Philadelphia, my group of buddies had a very routinized nightlife. Every weekend, it was the same bars with the same group of friends. About halfway through my group date on Saturday night, watching my friends mingle with the group of girls we’d just met, watching the smiles, the high fives, the positive body language, I realized on a whole deeper level: this website could really change the way young people meet. Along with that realization, came a few other insights about Ignighter:
- It’s not about finding a life partner. It’s about improving your social life. – The group atmosphere doesn’t lend itself to much romance, but it is an opportunity to meet a whole new group of friends. Chances are, you’re going to hit it off with at least one of them
- It’s easy, I mean: really easy – All I had to do was send a few messages, pick a time and a place to meet, show up, and holy cow: I just met 5 new ladies who live in my town. And shit: they’re interesting too.
- No matter how you slice it, it’s a whole freakin’ lot of fun – If you have a social bone in your body, you love meeting new people.
I came away from this group date feeling energized about my job, and bullish about the future of online group dating. Perhaps even more telling, my roommate, who has been cynical about online social networking and dating, but reluctantly accompanied me on the group date, came away raving about how great of a time he had.
I’m interested in comments from readers. What elements of a night-out make it the most fun? How do you meet new people when you’re out-on-the town? Would you use a webservice that is designed to set you up with a group of young people in your area?