A few weeks ago, a new group joined the ranks of the Brown Facebook community and started making waves: Brown Hookups. As many of you may have seen, or have heard through the gossip grapevine, Brown Hookups is a matchmaking service facilitated by a group of anonymous students that aims to “hook up” Brown students. Their secure system pairs up users who have expressed mutual interest in one another. They also publish a weekly feature of “Most Desirable” students of the week (those who have been most frequently requested through their submission system) on their Facebook page. With over 1,000 users and a growing online presence, BlogDH was curious to speak with the creators of Brown Hookups in order to find out more about their goals, inspirations, and philosophies on love.
BlogDailyHerald: What was your incentive to start Brown Hookups? What was/is your aspiration for the service?
Brown Hookups: The idea really came from the popularity of online dating recently. Our thought was to create an app similar to Hinge and Tinder, but appeal specifically to the college population, and create a niche in the market by allowing students to have some fun thinking about who actually requested them! We thought people would appreciate an app where the purpose was upfront: a hookup, because that is often what people are actually looking for on these dating sites. We also decided that the idea of keeping people within their own network (in this case, their university) was safer and more comfortable for our intended user base.
BlogDH: For those that don’t know, can you explain exactly how it works?
BH: The first step is to submit the name of someone in the Brown community who you are interested in. You can do this by direct messaging the Brown Hookup (BH) page on Facebook. BH will then send that person a random list of five names, including yours, from the BH friend list. That person will be asked if they are interested in any of the 5 people, and if they respond indicating that they are interested in you, we will create a match. Each person is only allowed to submit one request per week and only one guess. Recently, we also revealed that users can pay $0.99 to guess a second time.
There are few things that people need to understand about how this works. First is that if you friend BH, your name could be randomly selected to be placed in a group of five from which a user can guess. However, the program would never make up a match or lead someone to believe you are interested in them unless you submit a name. So don’t be surprised if your name comes up in a friend’s five potentials even if you did not request them. If they guess you, it will not be a match. But that’s the fun part.
Second is that we are keeping this extremely anonymous and confidential. We have no intention of disclosing any information that is sent to us and we have set up a lot of protection to make sure that does not happen. Hopefully we will have the app programmed soon so everything is completely automatic.
BlogDH: How did you decide to charge people for second guesses?
BH: We certainly do not want money to be in the forefront of our operation, and it was not the incentive for building the site. So far, though, we are paying out of pocket to fund all of our plans for the site, including the programing of the app, our patent, and a potential event this semester.
BlogDH: How would you define “hooking up”?
BH: What we like about the term “hook up” is that it is extremely open-ended. A hook up may start with coffee and turn into a serious relationship between two people who never thought to pursue each other. Alternatively, it could simply lead to a relationship or meeting that is purely sexual.
The truth is that our generation tends to regard sexual relationships very casually, and we seem to be the first site to pioneer the combination of casual sexual relationships and online meeting. However, with the responsibility of supporting this somewhat controversial platform also comes the responsibility of challenging our users to practice safe and consensual sex and hookups. We are very adamant about promoting safe sex and fighting against sexual abuse. In the future, we hope to become a more prominent voice on campus regarding these subjects and to work with other organizations that are already established on campus.
BlogDH: How did you come up with the idea for distinguishing “Most Desirable”? What does that mean?
BH: So far “Most Desirable” has been someone whom we have noticed is getting a large amount of requests for a match. Going forward we will also include people who have made great achievements on campus or who we feel deserve some recognition as a desirable, single person. Being a site that is focused on the Brown community, we hope to support our colleagues in all that they do by getting them laid. Just kidding, but something like that.
BlogDH: Would you ever use Brown Hookups yourself?
BH: Who says we don’t submit our own names to our website? Don’t worry, we comply with the one submission a week rule too.
BlogDH: Do you believe in love at first sight?
BH: Of course we believe in true love, and love at first sight for that matter. So often people shy away from talking to someone they are interested in because they are afraid of embarrassment or denial. That’s what we are trying to combat by creating an easy way for people to reach out to each other and know that the interest is mutual. We know plenty of people whose relationships started with that was meant to be a “one-night stand,” if you will. That is what we hope to facilitate, and it seems like we are off to a pretty good start! We have plenty of other features including a Tumblr account, an Instagram (brown_hookups), and are very excited to launch a mobile app to not only Brown University, but to colleges across the country. We can be reached for questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.