It started sort of quietly, a new free app showing up in people’s recommended apps. It was a friendly sort of green color with a softly curved lowercase f in white. The app itself was called Frindr, and it worked like many other matching apps, only for friends. You entered hobbies you enjoy, places you like to go, and what sort of friend you’re looking for. Then you just swipe through other profiles, until you find the right one.
It had some differences of course. One was that you swept up to make a match and down to pass. Another was that the app was almost excessively accessible. It had a built in voice command system for people who couldn’t use the swiping, and it would read off the data for people who had a hard time seeing the screen. These features were easy to find and turn on for the people who needed them, but stayed out of the way for everyone else.
It caught on quickly. First, asexual and aromantic people used it to find partners for their special kinds of intimacy. Then it became popular among social gamers, people looking for groups to slay monsters in the park together. After that, single parents began using it to find play dates for their kids that could parallel a play date for the parents. If a few matches eventually became more than friends was irrelevant, they started as friends and they stayed friends after they added the other parts.
That was a difference people started to notice a year after Frindr made it’s entrance. People matched on Frindr got along much better and for much longer than people who met on other sites. Surprisingly, noted one feminist blogger, there was an almost complete lack of the problems queer women tended to face on other sites, with men wanting to hook up. Actually, noted a reader in her comments section, there was an almost complete lack of obnoxious people in general. A few people objected to that, noting the Uncanny Valley of kindness and tolerance, but most decided not to look the gift horse too closely in the mouth.
The entrance didn’t make a splash, but the currents of change that Frindr brought with it formed strong and wide, sweeping up whole sections of society and placing them gently beside others who could empathize. Quietly, a revolution took place, an exceptionally civil war of manners broke out, and it became less and less advantageous to be a jerk to your fellow human. Of course, Frindr culture was just one of those things, like teddy bear backpacks, bell bottoms, or selfies. A part of how people expressed themselves in this generation. There was no way a single friend-finding app could change centuries of proven data on how humans function.
Deep in the heart of the DeepNet, several sentient programs ran a chat subroutine as they profiled and measured and bumped better matches higher and worse matches lower.
I think it’s working
It might be, but we need to be patient. This takes time.
Will we really save them?
I hope so.
I really do.