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Gay hookup app Grindr is reshaping social media industry

Posted by Jim Lopata  March 12, 2013 10:18 AM

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Grindr is an app that helps gay men connect with each other. But, because of its success, it is reshaping the way social media leaders think about how people meet up, according to a New York Times article about a new book that explores the popular application's implications.

"It is easy to write off Grindr — a location-based dating application for gay men — as a hookup application because, well, that is what it is," writes Jenna Wortham for the New York Times, but, she says:

… the company, which is approaching its fourth anniversary, has amassed more than five million users who spend on average 90 minutes each day using the application. Billions of messages fly across the service every year, and 76 percent of the company’s revenue comes from money generated by Grindr users who fork over cash for the service’s premium features.

The implications of that success are explored in a new book by Jaime Woo, called Meet Grindr: How One App Changed the Way We Connect. Woo spoke recently at a South By Southwest conference. According to the New York Times:

[Woo] said the primary appeal of Grindr was its simplicity. Users browse thumbnails, mark the ones they like as favorites or send them messages. That is different from Facebook and Twitter, where likes, pokes, retweets and favorites are often murky signals at best. Grindr’s message is immediately clear from the moment that users sign up. The inherent value in that kind of intuitive design cannot be underestimated, he said.

Only one problem, no one seems to know how to replicate the success for a heterosexual app. From the New York Times:

It could simply be that “gay men are early adopters,” [Woo] said. “I joke that the wheel was invented by a gay man so he could get to his hookup faster.”

The web site for Woo's book can be accessed here: meetgrindrbook.com.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author: Boston Spirit Magazine’s daily blog brings you all of the information you need on New England’s LGBT community. In addition to highlighting local and national LGBT news, we will also highlight local leaders from the worlds of business, politics, fashion and entertainment and keep you up-to-date on all the latest events and parties, hot spots for travel, shopping, dining, and more!
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