MeepMe brings text-flirting to campus bars
February 9, 2011, 6:25 am · Updated February 9, 2011, 12:00 am·
“Hey, sexy mama.”
“Wanna go out to dinner sometime?”
“I want to endoplasm your reticulum.”
To those who have not “Meeped” before, this may not sound like a typical conversation at The Blarney Stone. But for roughly 100 patrons this Tuesday, these were just a few of the flirtacious anonymous texts sent via MeepMe — a new service developed by Penn students for bar hoppers looking to practice their pickup lines.
After texting “Blarney” to a designated phone number, MeepMe participants were given a sticker with their assigned number. As the cell phones came out and the flirting began, television screens throughout the bar displayed a live stream of incoming texts, or “Meeps.”
MeepMe creator and Wharton senior Matt Newberg came up with the idea for MeepMe while at a bar in Chicago. “The same thing was happening, but without technology — people would get stickers and leave messages in a mailbox … I realized that with text messaging, this could be a lot simpler and more fun.”
MeepMe has been building buzz since it won the PennApps Hack-a-thon and subsequent Student Choice Award in January, explained Engineering senior Sam Oldak, who lent his technical skills to the project. The competition “allowed us to test MeepMe out in front of people and identify any bugs,” he said. “It also built a lot of momentum.”
Following the win, Newberg and his team of friends decided to showcase MeepMe at popular campus bars.
Most recently, MeepMe debuted at Smokey Joe’s last Thursday, with 150 participants exchanging over 5,000 Meeps throughout the night. “Some people were … joking around while others were being flirty. Some even had lunch the next day. I can see everything that gets sent, so I know,” said Newberg.
While some are initially confused by the game, others are curious about its name. “We wanted to come up with a name that could be used as a verb and sounded like the sound of a text message,” Newberg said.
Although relatively new on Penn’s bar scene, MeepMe has been received enthusiastically by many participants. College senior Antonieta Pimienta said, “My friends and I are Meeping purely for fun — we’ve seen a lot of random Meeps like ‘I like turtles.’ Seeing the Meeps on the screen is really good entertainment.”
Wharton senior Nicholas Theuerkauf added that “Meep is a way for people to feel uninhibited in texting and a great medium [for meeting] new people.”
Newberg and his team plan to bring MeepMe to different venues throughout Philadelphia.
“The real market for MeepMe lies outside of college,” Newberg said. “When you’re older and out of college it’s harder to meet people. This is a fun way to do just that.”