Twine (free) launched today, and it offers a novel approach to the age old problem of meeting other singles. While niche sites like Cupidtino come and go, your Facebook profile, check-ins and activity provide a map of your interests. Twine looks at those interests, the people around you (more or less), and suggests a "twine" for you to try and connect. You then chat semi-anonymously, and if you hit it off you can later reveal your profile pic and personal info.
Twine is absolutely lovely to look at. There's a minimum of buttons, subtle design elements are lovingly crafted and the typography and textures are elegant. The app oozes class, which is good for a singles app.
Interaction is very intuitive, which is good because Twine, like any social app, is going to need as many users as possible. Users who are confused will be deleting the app quickly.
A small cue indicates you are still hidden from the other chat participant by sliding a visor across the eyes. A lightbulb to the left of your text input area makes suggestions on what to say, with a logical plus sign to the right to add that to the text area (you an still edit the text afterward).
Twine allows you to move between the main screen, your twines (and chats) and your profile by swiping left and right, somewhat like Facebook's app.
Twine tries to keep the male to female ratio even, so it's possible if you are a guy you'll have to wait to get to use it. So far the line isn't long -- I had only one person in front of me. There's another attempt to rate limit creeps by Twine after you find "twines" (connections with others). You can only "find a twine" so many times every so many hours. I looked up about four people before I "ran out of juice" and had to wait six hours to try again. This is an interesting way to ensure people are only connecting to good matches, I suppose. If you are used to casting a wide net, however, you'll be limited by design.
Speaking of a wide net, I would note that as Twine is young, the user base isn't very high yet. There's no telling what the future will bring, but the more users generally the better matches will appear for you.
Once you've found a "twine" you can start chatting. Chat is a very Messages-like experience (in a good way), and Twine offers a neat shortcut if you're stumped on conversation starters. By pulling your Facebook data, it suggests things like "How often do you go to [place you've checked into]"? Based on my testing it was trying to match up similarities. Both I and my girlfriend like Weird Al, and Twine suggested the text "What is your favorite Weird Al song?"
Being data, it can sometimes be... vague. One question was whether she had seen the movie The Well, when it is in fact a local bar we've both been to. Luckily the text pastes in already selected so you can edit it before you send. I'm not sure if it encourages laziness, but it certainly is a quick way to find common interests.
If Twine can keep adding users I think it will become a fun way for people to meet. The only drawback I see is, aside from "making connections" there's no other utility. I've met people on Flickr who weren't just into photos, but had a cool picture of something they did. Likewise, I've made friends on Facebook based on groups that do something. While dating sites are general purpose, being social is often built around personal choices of activity.
Then again, what you've done and what you're into -- insofar as it shows up on Facebook -- is how Twine tries to connect you to others. I have to hand it to the team at Twine for connecting those dots, but I am curious to see if the app is used extensively enough for those connections to become real.
- Matches according to interests, check-ins via Facebook
- Great design
- You can stay relatively private
- Age gate a little iffy (someone's profile said 16 when the agreement is for 17 and up)
- Given small population, "local" is a wide net sometimes (had someone in DC suggested for someone in TN)
- Ratio balancing means one female per male, so guys may have to wait or invite a female via Facebook