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

T listed here are large amount of apps in the marketplace now for young people looking for love: Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid, to mention a couple of. Though their rationales vary—Tinder and Bumble are both concerning the swipe, but on Bumble, women result in the first move, along with OkCupid you can easily get a grip on just how much information you reveal up front—they all have one or more part of typical: Potential mates judge the other person considering appearance.

But Willow, a brand new application striking the App Store on Wednesday, is looking for a various approach. As opposed to swiping left or right in line with the first selfie you notice, you’re prompted to respond to a couple of three questions—written by users—that are made to spark a conversation up. What’s more, users decide when if they would like to share pictures along with other users; in the beginning, the responses to these concerns are typical future times see.

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

“You can match with a lot of people that you think are great searching you don’t really understand much about them until such time you start speaking with them, ” Bruch informs TIME. “If I’m going to invest time with some body i wish to know me. That individuals have actually one thing to talk about–that’s what’s crucial to”

Bruch is hoping that same fascination with discussion is essential to many other young adults aswell. Up to now, Willow has gained some traction. A day over 100,000 users downloaded the beta version of the app that launched in August, sending an average of three messages.

What’s more, folks are deploying it for longer than simply love that is finding. “It’s are more about social development than strictly dating, ” Bruch says. “If you want to access it an have actually a casual discussion about video gaming you can easily, and you may also put it to use to spark up an enchanting discussion with some one that’s not as much as 30 kilometers away. ”

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The type of the application released Wednesday also contains a “Discover” feature that helps users search what’s trending and better examine concerns they’d be enthusiastic about responding to.

It’s a fascinating approach offered the recognized 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 narcissists that are inner. Plus it’s much easier to make some body down based on simply their face in the place of once you’ve started up a discussion. To observe how users reacted to pages without pictures, OkCupid among the biggest online dating sites, hid profile pictures temporarily in January of 2013 dubbing it “Blind Date time. ” They discovered that their users had been greatly predisposed to answer first messages throughout the period, however the moment the pictures had been turned straight straight back on, conversations ended–like they’d “turned in the bright lights in the bar 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 in the jerky messages published to your Instagram account Bye Felipe (which aggregates negative communications females have online) provides a great feeling of exactly just how irritating it could be for most people, but especially for ladies, attempting to navigate for the reason that space that is visual. Individuals may be aggressive, fetishizing, and downright cruel.

Apps like Bumble look for to greatly help females circumvent that by placing the charged energy of striking up discussion in entirely within their fingers. But Willow desires to replace the focus totally, through the method some body appears as to what his / her passions are. “If your image just isn’t being blasted on the market, the quantity of harassment and communications you’re likely to get from the break will be reduced, ” Bruch says.

On its area, the app’s mission sounds just like a cheesy line from the rom-com: a hapless sap whining that they want some body would simply take fascination with their ideas rather than their looks. But, Bruch and Willow’s other founders are hoping this has carved a spot among the list of variety apps that focus on the millennial generation’s life online.