While the COVID-19 Pandemic has caused many to experience higher levels of loneliness and isolation, a team of Tech students has created a website they hope will combat these issues.
+1 is a web app built by a small team of Tech students to help their peers meet new people.
College is traditionally a time for students to build new relationships with classmates, fellow club members, and roommates, but these usual outlets for social interaction have been stymied by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Social interactions have increasingly moved to digital mediums as the year has progressed.
The team behind +1 is attempting to bring a new spin to meeting up with people on the Web.
According to the site’s founders Anushk Mittal and Savonte McCuller, +1 is focused on allowing students to meet other Tech students in a way that can lead to lasting interactions outside of the site itself.
While many applications similar to +1 are geared towards romantic relationships, +1 is designed to not be a dating specific app.
The site was born out of a desire to harness technology to bring Tech students together and to break the stigma surrounding meeting new friends online. Mittal and McCuller have been joined by Steve Zakharov, Rishov Sakar as they have built out the application over the past several weeks.
+1 is currently for Tech students only.
New users can sign up via a Google Form, providing their Tech email address to verify that they are currently enrolled.
Users are then sent invitations to an upcoming slot to use the service.
Every Friday and Saturday night, +1 comes to life, allowing students that have signed up to be randomly matched with another student for a 10 minute voice conversation.
The +1 team emphasized that no data are collected other than the user’s Tech email address and a display name created by the user.
There is currently no plan to monetize the service or to collect additional user data.
End-to-end encryption on the voice calls ensures that users’ conversations are kept private.
There is no matching algorithm; users are paired for conversations completely randomly.
After the conversation wraps up, users are given the opportunity to share external contact information with each other.
If the users choose to exchange contact details, an email is sent with the information.
At the time of their conversation with the Technique, the +1 team had sent 160 connection emails.
Users have noted that the app has allowed them to break out of their small social circle of classmates or students in the same year.
First year students in particular have reaped benefits from using +1. Adun Oladeji is a first year student who used +1 recently.
She identified her experience as positive, noting that she exchanged contact information with 4 of the 6 people she spoke with during her time on the site.
Oladeji is part of the Marching Band and Women at College of Computing, but rated her engagement with the latter as low.
+1 allowed her to connect with students that she normally would not meet, including upperclassmen.
Traditional outlets for meeting people like dorm life have been curtailed for her, making +1 a viable option for connecting with other students.
In the future, the +1 team wants to add some features to foster particular types of conversations.
Other possibilities include a dating night for users that are interested in finding a romantic partner.
The team is discussing adding a debate night, where users can talk about different current events topics.
Interested students can find more information at https://ohnonotanotherdatingsite.com.