Introduction

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MeetMe is an application that helps people meet other people nearby and get to know them by meeting them personally or just talking to them online. According to Google Play, it is the “Number 1 Social App for Meeting New People in the US.” Some users of the application might share the same interests and hobbies that is why there are tags that mainly describe each person. A user can see what some people are doing in the “Discuss” Tab, where he/she can share his/her thoughts or feelings and post it in different categories. For example, if the user wants to see movie recommendations or know what other people are watching, he/she can go to the Movie category. If the user wants to find romance, then he/she can post at the Romance category of the Discussion Tab and others. The application has similarities with Facebook, Twitter, and Tinder, but is combined and has categories wherein someone can post. In MeetMe, there is also a “Live” tab where a user can find people, meet, and chat with them live, as well as discover more about the application. There are many kinds of people someone can possibly meet through this application, whether he/she uses it frequently or not, because there would be someone interested in his/her personality or identity.

Some people think that they might find a best friend through MeetMe. Some might think they can find the right person for them, or “The One” for them by using this application, but unless they try it, they would not know of the possibilities.

What’s in it?

In the first place, the app would let you set up your own profile either by using your Facebook account or using your Gmail account, and then input the other details manually. It will ask about your basic details and preferences. After setting up an account you would see other profiles that are near you in the Meet Tab and you would be able to see their profiles or see their basic information and even the things that interest them like movies, dogs, books etc. There is a gauge where you can see your popularity and sometimes it makes a user want to make his or her popularity very high so he/she will have the urge to add many people and chat many people and maybe even meet people in person. There is an extra feature where you would pay to gain more profile views and boost your profile to other people and they don’t just buy these credits because sometimes these credits can come from frequent use of the app.

We could see this app to be like Facebook but both of the apps are different from each other, partly because Facebook helps you connect or reconnect with old friends and classmates while MeetMe helps you meet more people.

There is so much happening at the Discuss tab in the app because it is similar to a Facebook newsfeed where you could post your thoughts in a certain category you would want to post. Even in the Discuss tab, you would find a whole another community aside from MeetMe or you might refer the categories as for sub communities that exist in the application. There is even a community for LGBT.

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There is a game in MeetMe and it’s called “The Matching Game” where you would either give this person a Heart or an X, equivalent to Tinder’s Swipe Right and Swipe Left. However, that does not stop there, if someone gives you a heart you would be notified and there would be 9 profiles to be shown and you will have 5 chances to find out or choose the one that gave you a heart and if you find that person within the 5 tries, you would match that person and the app will give you an option to either just chat that person or you would add that person.

About The Study

Since the Internet of Things era has emerged, people across the globe already have their own handheld device wherever they go. Applications that entertain them while travelling, walking, running, eating, or while doing everyday activities were developed to give them reasons to use their devices in their everyday lives. In relation to this, the group has decided to study an application wherein people of different countries, cultures, and socio-economic status meet and interact with each other, gaining interests and knowledge about each other that may lead to a relationship, whether friendship or romance.

We intend to know why people use this kind of application. Considering that technological advancements have paved the way for different applications just like MeetMe, we want to understand the reason behind the prevalence, and provide details that will enable other people to discern what this particular virtual community is about and its relation to the different perspectives of different personalities in the community.

First Hand Experience (Disney Kyle Serra)

There are so many interesting people in meet me. Some of the other people use meet me as a medium because some of the people that I chatted had asked me if I have a K!k Account or Whatsapp account because they use those app to communicate frequently.

Most of the people at first does not show their identity but as you get to know them through chat they would show what their personality are and in the end, you would know more about them. I have added some of the people that I met in meet me in some social media apps such as Facebook and whatsapp.

Some people were not as interesting as the others because some of them were rude because some kept asking “send nudes” and there were others that you think that they are the person on the picture or they would tell you that’s their name but truthfully, they are just posers and some of them were just trolling other people.

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There are people that I talked to that at first just seen my message saying “Hi! 😊”

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but eventually some people replied to my message and one of the people that I talked to started replying and we talked about movies since one of her tag that describes her likes is movies and we mostly talked all night about movies.

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One lady that I met was from Indonesia and she told me she was Chinese too and we talked about we talked about where we would go in the future.

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Another person that I talked to was a lady and was an anime fan and we talked about anime that we watched and I then we talked about where we study and what our interest are. Then we talked about cute things like dogs because one of our tags was dog lover and we both love dogs.

I met a guy that is persistent in getting my phone number for some reason and I saw that some people are persistent in either meeting people or persistent to find their forever or someone that would be their friend to spend time with them.

A Different Approach (Acy Artugue)

So I decided to do a survey and I typically used the app to conduct my survey at night specifically 7pm onwards because I noticed that there are many people online. I find people to chat at the Meet tab because the people shown there are the people who are active at the moment. At first, I thought it was gonna be easy because I thought “Oh! I will just send them the questions they need to answer.” But many users just “seenzoned” my request and some declined because of the long set of questionnaire. (see photo below)

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There are just few who considered answering it, including this guy who were wondering why I was asking those questions among people in this community, because for him there are a lot of dumb people here (sharing his experience on encountering people who believe that the earth is flat).

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So what I did was to narrow down the questions so that people will not find it hard to answer. After that, of course there are still who users just “Seen” my request but I noticed that more people were willing to participate. At times, when someone messages me I took advantage of it and directly asked them to participate in a survey so that I could gather many responses (some didn’t reply after that, but there are also users who accepted).

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Many of the respondents were also curious on why I am doing the survey and asked what subject is it for so I tell them it’s about online communities.

My interaction with those people was very brief because after they answer I just thanked them and they will already ignore it or some still reply “you’re welcome” and that’s it. Now I want to share this very entertaining and straightforward response of all of them. This person was new to the app and her response really made me laugh, because it was really different from the others whose answers were just simple or abrupt.

But aside from an entertaining one, I also like to share this response on why did they join MeetMe because it was a profound reason compared to the others. Another thing is that, I somehow relate to how she feels with what she said and one way or another it is the same reason for all the others in the community that they crave connection.

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Then, others change the topic for a little chitchat and most of their questions was where do I study and where do I come from because MeetMe is an app for socializing after all. Aside from the most entertaining response I got, there is this interesting person I encountered because the person is an intersex (hermaphrodite). She opened up about it after telling me that she lives independently and that her parents abandoned her because of her rare body condition.

Finally, I will talk about the overall results of the survey. Like what I had said, I narrowed down the questions to gain more responses. The questions I asked were, when did they start using MeetMe, how did they discover it, do they know someone personal who also use the app, how often are they active on the community, and why did they join MeetMe and why they use it. Of all the users I messaged, only half of them responded and their age bracket was 17-24. Most of the users I interacted were only using the app for a couple of weeks, followed by those who were using it for months and a very few who’s been in the community for a year already. Regarding on how they discovered the application, the users’ answers were play store/app store, recommendation of a friend and there are also users who searched online for such apps. It was an equal number between those who said that they know someone personally who use the app and those who don’t. When asked how often they use the app or engage in the community, they are most likely to reply with when they are bored, when they have free time and if someone chats with them. Lastly, their reason for joining the app was generally to meet new people that can turn potentially into friends. For some, it is a way for them to avoid boredom or release their frustrations when they talk to strangers and few admitted that they are into finding someone to be in a relationship with that’s why they joined the MeetMe community. This community is a way for people to feel connected especially for those who feel inadequate in some aspects of themselves.

A Deeper Conversation (Leania Mahimer)

As part of the research group, I started joining the community last June 22 and made account using the least ‘likeable’ picture I had of myself.

Immediately after editing a bit of my profile in the platform, different types of men – Filipinos, Asians of different decent, Europeans, Latinos, and Americans, with an age range of 16-24, have started sending me messages. Countless hi’s, hello’s, how are you’s, where are you from’s, and the like were sent to me, and I replied them with the same statements. Waking up, to my surprise, my popularity was already ‘Very High.’

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Apparently, men ‘liked’ the mysterious aura of my profile picture.

Days passed and I have talked to a lot of men already, and it was time to choose an informant in that sea. I was planning to choose between Ronald and Lorenz, who were both from UST Senior High, but I chose 17-year old Nate, one of the first men I have talked to since I started using the application. He is a Third Year Computer Science student from Mapua University, Makati Campus. He wasn’t really active in the platform, but I managed to talk him out regarding the research. We talked then in Facebook.

According to Nate, he started using MeetMe a few years ago and only started using it again around one to two months ago. It was due to school work and own personal life that made him somewhat inactive.  He discovered the application through Google Play suggestions and own research after using other similar applications, specifically Omegle, Chatous, and Skout. He had used the application on an hourly basis, but nowadays he’d use it for only an hour or so depending on his school load. The longest time of activity he had was a week of continuously checking profiles.

At first, he was a bit shy in telling me answers to my questions, but he managed to answer them honestly. His reasons for joining the MeetMe community was out of boredom and he was in search for new friends. He said that the information he had put in his profile were true without reservations, and he didn’t use another person’s name, picture and identity. He was very clear that he used his own.

He usually starts a conversation with the people in the community by using either a compliment or a comment to something they posted. Though he was true to himself and to others in the community, he has never met anyone from the application in person, and only had short-lived friendships.

He also told me that his best experience so far was whenever he gets someone to talk to, he feels satisfied for finding someone who was actually willing to survive talking to him, and his worst was realizing that even after talking to those people, they seem uninterested, and ending up not having a conversation with him anymore.

He sees that the global standard of beauty is dominating the community, affecting his personal self-esteem and how people treat each other because of their looks and the factors that make a person interesting.

Conclusion

After participating in the MeetMe community ourselves, we can now understand why members of it joined and are engaging in it. In general, the people who use the app have a common goal that is to meet different people outside the parameters of where they usually go (school, work, neighborhood, etc.). They want to interact with them and their intentions vary per individual of course. But other than that, we will also present our conclusion applying theories in sociology so that you will have a concrete understanding of their reasons.

We consider symbolic interactionism in here because based on the survey, the users more likely joined MeetMe from recommendations of their friends or someone they know. So their decision to try out this community was influenced by others. Apart from that, their desire for connecting with other people through this app may pertain to a desire of change for their self whereas they find different attributes of other persons in the community. Then, interacting with those people affects now some aspects of their self or even their life. The answers on how, in general, the lives of the application’s users are greatly affected by the standards of beauty (i.e. being slim, looking masculine, long hair for women, etc.) explains why people on apps like MeetMe tend to pose as other people (meaning they use other people’s or celebrities’ image/s) just so they can capture attention and not feel any insecurities because they are shying away from their true appearance. This behavior is their way of adapting to that environment. Lastly, the community makes a different reality for its members that they relate in their real life interactions.
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