Meet Willow, the Dating App That Won’t Judge You By The Appearance

You can find large amount of apps available on the market now for young people searching for love: Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid, to call a few. Though their rationales vary—Tinder and Bumble are both in regards to the swipe, but on Bumble, ladies result in the move that is first along with OkCupid it is possible to get a grip on simply how much information you reveal up front—they all have one or more part of typical: Possible mates judge the other person based on appearance.

But Willow, a brand new software striking the App shop on Wednesday, is looking for an approach that is different. As opposed to swiping left or right based on the first selfie the truth is, you’re prompted to respond to a couple of three questions—written by users—that are created to spark a conversation up. What’s more, users decide when of course they would like to share pictures along with other users; to start with, the answers to these concerns are typical future times see.

The app’s creator Michael Bruch states Willow sets the “social” back in social networking. Bruch, now 24, ended up being fresh away from nyc University as he established the application just last year. He claims he had been trying to fill a void he noticed when utilizing apps that are dating centered on swipes instead of everything you like.

“You can match with a number of people which you think are great looking however you don’t really know much about them before you begin conversing with them,” Bruch informs TIME. “If I’m going to expend time with some body i wish to understand that we have actually one thing to talk about–that’s what’s crucial in my experience.”

Bruch is hoping that same desire for discussion is very important to a lot of other young adults aswell. To date, Willow has gained some traction. Over 100,000 users downloaded the beta type of the software that launched in August, giving an average of three messages on a daily basis.

What’s more, folks are utilizing it for over just finding love. “It’s be a little more about social development than strictly dating,” Bruch says. “If you just want to log in to an have a laid-back discussion about game titles you can easily, and you will additionally utilize it to spark up an enchanting conversation with some body that’s significantly less than 30 miles away.”

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The form of the application released Wednesday also contains a “Discover” feature that can help users search what’s trending and better examine concerns they’d be interested in responding to.

It’s an approach that is interesting the perceived shallow nature of today’s millennials—the Me Generation, as TIME’s Joel Stein pronounced in 2013. Today’s dating apps appear to feed within their internal narcissists. And it’s much easier to make somebody down based on simply their face instead of when you’ve started up a discussion. To observe how users reacted to pages without pictures, OkCupid one of several largest online dating sites, hid profile photos temporarily in January of 2013 dubbing it “Blind Date time.” They unearthed that their people had been greatly predisposed to react to very first messages during that time, however the moment the photos were turned right back on, conversations ended–like they’d “turned from the bright lights during the club at midnight,” wrote one Chris Rudder, one of the site’s founders.

Some millennials are finding that the pressure of putting your face out there for the public to judge can be intimidating—and in some instances, dangerous despite that somewhat depressing result. Only one glimpse during the jerky messages published to your Instagram account Bye Felipe (which aggregates negative messages ladies have online) provides an excellent feeling of exactly exactly how difficult it may be for most people, but especially for females, trying to navigate for the reason that space that is visual. Individuals could be aggressive, fetishizing, and downright cruel.

Apps like Bumble seek to assist females circumvent that by placing the energy of striking up discussion in solely inside their arms. But Willow would like to entirely change the focus, through the method some body appears from what his / her passions are. “If your photo is certainly not being blasted on the market, the total amount of harassment and messages you’re going to get the break off will be reduced,” Bruch claims.

The app’s mission sounds like a cheesy line from a rom-com: a hapless sap whining that they wish someone would take interest in their thoughts and not their looks on its surface. But, Bruch and Willow’s other founders are hoping this has carved a spot on the list of variety apps that focus on the millennial life that is generation’s.

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