Friendsy, a mobile application that combines elements of Facebook, Tinder and Yik Yak, quickly became the latest social media craze at Bowdoin after its introduction before Spring Break, and had been downloaded by nearly half of the student body (849 students) as of Monday.

Requiring a “.edu” email address to sign up, the app allows students to connect with one another on a friendly or romantic level.

Users are given the option to select “friends,” “hookup” or “date” on other students’ profiles. If the feelings are mutual, both parties receive a notification saying that they have been matched. Students are then given the chance to message their “mutuals” with the help of conversation-starting prompts.

The app was founded in 2013 by two Princeton students, Vaidhy Murti and Michael Pinsky, in hopes of giving students an easier way to connect with each other and branch out of their social circles on campus. After testing the app at a small number of campuses over the past year, the app launched nationwide earlier this month.

Speaking to USA Today, Murti said, “Our goal of Friendsy is to go back to the roots of what made Facebook once successful—and that’s to put the college social scene online. Where everything you do and everything you see is very much relevant to your day-to-day life.”

Danny Mejia ’17 and Laura Plimpton ’17 played a large role in getting Friendsy on campus.
Plimpton heard about the app last year from her sister who attends Hamilton College.

“We had heard of other schools that had Friendsy and we thought it was really funny and wanted to see if there was any way we could bring it to a smaller school, because we’ve seen it work at other small schools” said Mejia. “We figured we’d try to make it a thing at Bowdoin.”

In order to make the app available on campus, Friendsy requested that students express interest by entering their email address on Friendsy’s website. After Thanksgiving break, Mejia and Plimpton told their friends to join the app.

“There was a group of six or seven people already on it when it went live, so we weren’t patient zero and patient one on the app,” Mejia added. “Once we heard it opened up and now only needed people to join to make it a thing then we sent it to a lot of people. All those super annoying texts? Those came from us.”

Immediately after opening to Bowdoin, the app’s usage on campus exploded.

“Dinner was at 7 p.m. and by like, 11 p.m. there had been 80 people who had joined and then the next day it was over 200,” said Mejia. “We meant for it to just be a funny thing within our friends, kind of. Then it became a Union phenomenon that night.”

Even Plimpton and Mejia are wary of the app’s presence in Bowdoin’s social scene.

“I think the point of something like Friendsy is for big schools where it’s actually difficult to run into people,” said Plimpton. “You can only scroll through so many people. Once you’ve scrolled through everyone you’re like now what?”

“We have so many resources as undergraduates at a small school that’s easy to get around and has a lot of community focus that there’s so many different options for people to meet each other and get to know each other well,” said Mejia. “Asking somebody to dinner is a really simple thing. We don’t need an app like this. I don’t agree with it morally. I think it’s fun.”

Despite its popularity on campus, a contingency of students disapprove of the app. For many, Bowdoin’s small size renders the idea of the app useless

“Excuse me to all the people who say they want to hook up or date on Friendsy yet remain anonymous in real life” said Liam Finnerty ’17. “It will never cease to amaze me.”

 “I used it for three days and it’s boring. It was a fun idea but it just doesn’t work. It’s not the same as in person,” said Andrew Brenner ’18

Casey Krause ’17 does not use the app but has some strong opinions about its use on campus.

“I think it’s the stupidest thing ever,” she said. “I know that people joke about it. If people actually do it that would really piss me off. It’s like worse than hooking up blackout in the Baxter basement. I’ve talked to people who say they have it on their phone but they’re not active on it. They just like to hear who wants to hook up with them to boost their ego. I’ll be in a group of people and somebody will be like ‘I just got three hookup requests on Friendsy’ and I’ll throw up in my mouth a little bit.”

Roughly 950 students were active on Friendsy last week. This week, that number has dropped to just under 850, signifying that the app may be beginning to lose steam.

“I deleted it because I didn’t know what to do with it anymore,” said Plimpton. “It was just really cool to watch. Seeing it start to finish in 48 hours was the most fun part.”

“Better than Tinder, worse than everything else,” said Mejia.