You see the same person every day. You stand in line together at the same coffee shop. You ride the same elevator to work. Maybe you go to the same school, use the same gym or the same grocery store.
You never talk to this person. The connection ends every day with that same cup of coffee.
These missed connections are often the product of varying levels of shyness. Still, social media continues to throw options our way to help alleviate this inhibition.
One of those new options is happn.
happn is an app that works with your location and, more importantly, the people you cross paths with every day.
“What makes happn different from other dating apps is that the experience starts in real life,” said Marie Cosnard, happn’s head of media relations.
The hallmark feature of the app is the real-time “geolocation” function. happn shows you a chronological timeline of people you’ve passed on the street and who were (or are) at the same place and at the same time as you.
If the person you’ve encountered is also using the app, you can see how many times you’ve been in the same location.
Like Tinder and other dating apps, if you see someone you like, click a heart button. And if the other person has liked you too, you can start a conversation.
For a little extra, you can send a “Charm” to be sure your profile is noticed. Cosnard equated this to the Facebook “poke.”
“One way of using happn is to find the
people you’ve seen before but didn’t have the chance to approach,” Cosnard said.
Another way is to discover new people around you. These might include people who ride your bus everyday, people who go to the same grocery store as you, people who jog in the same park or simply people who live nearby.
“They are people you might bump into every day but that you’ve never noticed because you didn’t look up,” Cosnard added.
Because happn works with your location, you need to activate the GPS setting on your mobile device.
Some users might consider the activation of the GPS locator a risky proposition. However, happn offers additional features to assure some level of protection.
“The app has been designed to guarantee the safety and privacy of all users,” Cosnard added. “The current location of a user remains completely invisible to other members. No matter how close a person is to you, the closest indication of distance will be less than 250 meters away.”
happn isn’t available in Northeast Ohio or western Pennsylvania, at least not yet. Although the new app boasts more than 2 million members, the real growth will probably hit when they move beyond major cities such as New York City and San Francisco.
“We have launched 15 cities so far including Paris, London, Chicago and Boston,” Cosnard said. “We will be launching more global cities throughout the year, at the speed of about two per month.”
For more information, check out the happn website at www.happn.fr.
~ A version of this post appeared in the Sunday, March 15, 2015 issue of The Vindicator newspaper.
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is associate professor and chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA. He researches and writes about social media and technology, sports and fans.