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Online dating applications

Alper says he thinks it's because there's still a stigma attached to the idea that you need help finding friends.

It may sound counterintuitive given that people usually go on dating apps to find people in their vicinity, but it was a hit.

So much so that the feature ended up crashing their servers, and they had to pull the feature to rework things.

In an effort to capitalize on this, Bumble added Bumble BFF in early 2016, and Tinder launched Tinder Social a year ago.

But they haven’t exactly taken off as the premiere way of finding new pals.

It also allows people to recede further into the little tech-enabled bubbles we've created for ourselves.

Alper says it's part of a larger shift in culture: "People would rather go to the Grand Canyon to get likes on their Instagram than to experience the Grand Canyon.One side was still interested in meeting and dating in the traditional sense.But about 20 percent of their user traffic is in Global Mode, and those people are mostly using the app just to hang out and talk. In fact, the younger a user is, the more likely they are to be on Global Mode. From user surveys, Hater has been able to establish that they’re mostly just chatting.When the app first launched back in February, it got a lot of international attention, with people signing up in many different countries.There weren’t always enough users in any given region, so the app expanded the radius for people in those areas, allowing users to start matching all over the globe.It’s often somewhere between flirtation and pure friendship.Alper suspects the popularity of Global Mode is due to it mimicking real life more than location-based matching does: “When people want to meet someone in real life, they’ll go to a bar. You go with your friends, whatever." And conversations happen more naturally.It gives people a low-key way to find friends — and maybe even a community — they wouldn't necessarily find elsewhere.So maybe it's time to set aside Snapchat and start swiping around for your next BFF.There are plenty of apps that have been released specifically for the purpose of chatting with strangers, even focusing on flirtation without consequence, like Phrendly.There are even more straightforward friend-finding apps, like Me3.

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