It’s amazing how time can feel so relative depending on the life event. Some moments…
Facebook and Instagram allow you to build a public profile and Tinder allows you to find people in your area. But what about an app that combines the two?
Meet Fluttr, a Canberra-made app that promises to bring a new twist to socialising—in real-time.
Created by Vineel Dutt and Dasun Rajapakse, the idea for Fluttr originated through concern about social media’s insidious way of connecting, yet separating us.
As Vineel, a DJ in Canberra’s bars and nightclubs, watched patrons glued to their phones he realised that for some, virtual socialising was outshining real-life interaction.
“We get it—the convenience of chatting through your phone screen, in your own time and through a carefully curated profile,” he says. “But then, what’s the point of going out?”
“We go out because we all know that good times and great memories happen with real people, in person and not through phone screens.”
Dasun shared Vineel’s concerns.
“Social media profiles had become highly curated (often not truly representing the lives of the people behind them), and people were more likely to exchange memes and gifs than they were to engage in genuine conversations.”
“Our “Someone should make an app for that!” moment came when one of us suggested that it would be great to combine the benefits of social media with real life.”
That app is Fluttr, a free to download app that allows users to carry “a social media profile in your back pocket when you go to Canberra’s most popular venues and events”.
Fluttr encourages you to ‘connect’ with other users once at a venue or event, giving you one hour to chat, with the end goal of face-to-face interaction.
As Vindeel and Dasun put it: “You’re in the same place, so put your phone away and meet up!”
While Fluttr was originally conceived with dating in mind, Vineel and Dasun have broadened its horizons, hoping that it will also facilitate new friendships.
“We don’t think connecting with people, particularly while you’re out at social venues and events, has to be strictly for a given purpose—so we haven’t put a label on it.”
“It’s all about being social and meeting people you may otherwise never get to know. Of course, if you’re sliding into DMs on Instagram, there’s no reason you can’t meet someone special on Fluttr either!” says Dasun.
The pair concede that a COVID-restricted world might seem like a strange place to launch such an app. But Dasun says that Fluttr has never been more relevant.
“When COVID-19 first hit and the importance of social distancing became evident, it felt like bringing people together was the last thing we wanted to do. However, the pandemic soon reminded us, and many people we know, just how much we value face-to-face interactions and the company of real people.”
“As restrictions started to ease in Canberra, we realised our app could be a great tool to help and encourage people to go out and be social again, while still being safe and responsible. For example, current restrictions dictate that patrons of bars and restaurants have to remain seated, which only increases the “insular” nature of going out with a group of friends. Fluttr gives our users the opportunity to abide by current rules but still interact with new people around them in the same venue or area.”
While Vineel and Dasun have nine-to-fives in the Public Service and private sector in addition to being developers, they hope that Fluttr grows with Canberra and COVID-restrictions, facilitating social interaction at a time when people need it most.
“We will continue to ask for feedback and listen to what our users are saying in order to fine-tune Fluttr,” says Vineel. “How Canberra uses the app will dictate the development path we take and what features we add.”
HOW TO USE FLUTTR
“So, the first step after downloading Fluttr is to create yourself a profile,” explains Dasun. “We’ve kept it quite simple so it’s just a matter of uploading a few photos and writing a quick bio.”
“When you’re on a night out at a venue, it’s important to remember to check in to that venue on Fluttr. Immediately, you’ll be able to see a list of other users who are also checked in at the same place and at the same time.”
“You can browse their profiles and once you connect with someone, Fluttr gives you one hour to chat online before the conversation is frozen. Our thinking is that you’re at the same place, at the same time, so it’s time to put your phone away and meet face-to-face!”
Download Fluttr via the App Store on Apple and Android