Contributed by: ElyseRomano Monday, December 11 2017 @ 10:21 am
The concept of a blind date is nothing new, but you haven’t seen it quite like this before.
Taffy is a new app that attacks the problem of superficiality in dating by blurring a potential match’s photos until you’ve gotten to know each other better. Users initially see the hazy images with a catchy headline superimposed on top (something like “Looking for a guy with a sense of adventure,” suggests the app, though calling that “catchy” seems like a stretch). Only after initiating communication are the clear images revealed.
“Taffy is a new way to meet people that puts personality on the same level as physical attraction by putting conversation first,” explains the website[*1] . “Photos are blurry until you start chatting. The more you chat the more you see!”
New users get started by creating a profile and posting in a category, such as “love”, “chat”, or “advice”. You can then browse potential matches by interests, location, age, and other familiar parameters, but search results will only reveal the headline and foggy photos. It’s up to you to decide who to chat to, sight unseen.
As a conversation continues, Taffy slowly brings the pictures into focus. The app’s founder, John Schenk, told Mashable[*2] that it currently takes about 10 messages back and forth before the image is fully revealed. He added that the app’s algorithm will eventually take into account the quality of the conversation when deciding how quickly to reveal your matches.
Schenk explained the inspiration for the app in a post[*3] on Medium. Daters tend to focus on good looks, while “largely ignoring the fact that non-physical characteristics such as intelligence, humor, charm, passion, drive and sex appeal all play an important role in defining what’s ‘desirable’ about another person.” Today’s dating apps not only exacerbate the problem, he says, but are ineffective at actually bringing people together.
Schenk set out to “re-create that sense of excitement and spontaneity that comes with meeting new people, through a topically-focused modern day social chat application.” His invention needed to be playful but useful, with “just enough viral game mechanic to satisfy today’s mild dopamine addiction, without defeating the underlying purpose of creating truly authentic connections.”
Taffy was born, but it isn’t the only app taking a chat-first approach to dating. Appetence initially obscures images with a pattern. As matches communicate, they’re given the option to “like” messages they receive, and with each like, a piece of the picture is revealed. A user must rack up 50 likes for their match’s full photo to be unveiled.
Neither app has yet hit it big, but it’s early days for both, and it’s easy to see why some would find their personality-focused attitude appealing. Taffy is available for iOS and an Android version is in the works.