In a world of dating apps and online romance, Brian Ritter of SocialPing is trying to make finding friends easier.
“The whole idea behind (SocialPing) is to increase socialization in a platonic sense,” said Ritter, a first year MBA student at CSU. “You’re able to connect with other people online in a virtual world.”
SocialPing is a new app being developed by Ritter and his team that allows people to build new, non-romantic, relationships. The app pairs people up based on their interest categories and lets users text or video chat each other to set up a time to hang out.
Ritter makes some comparisons between his app and other dating apps such as Tinder, but he ensures that SocialPing is focused on building platonic relationships.
“Users are rewarded for the more social they become,” Ritter said. “The more activities they do, the more badges and awards they accumulate.”
Ritter also spoke about the app’s explore feature, comparing it to Pokemon Go. He said that users can explore landmarks and gain rewards for going places and meeting people. Like Tinder, the app is geospecific, and Ritter said the goal is to eventually go international.
SocialPing is only for user 18 and older, and Ritter’s team is working to prevent catfishing and inappropriate use of the app.
“When you register, there’s a verification process to make sure that you are of age,” Ritter said. “Of course, there is a possibility of catfishing, but since it’s platonic in nature, we hope that will help to mitigate that.”
The users to test out the app are CSU and CU students. Ritter said that the current demographic of the app is college students and that he’s happy to be testing it in Colorado first.
Although the app is getting its start on college campuses, Ritter said that in five years, he would like to be “the social network app.” He said that he thinks his app can help to build and maintain friendships, especially for college students.
“We live in this world where loneliness and disconnectedness are increasing,” Ritter said. “A lot of that has to do with our technological advances and living in the virtual world.”
While there is not a specific launch date yet, Ritter said SocialPing will be going live on the app’s website soon and that anyone interested can sign up to try it out. Ritter also said that SocialPing will be available for invite only, or through promotions run by his team.
“We want to give the users the power,” Ritter said.