Life in the Metro: A networking site to find love, palsBy Prathiba Raju, IANS
Monday, February 21, 2011
NEW DELHI - Here’s good news for Delhi Metro users. If you are bored of commuting alone and eager to find a match or make friends, there is a social networking site just for you.
The brainchild of 24-year-old management student Sameer Suri, the portal www.metromates.in is fast becoming popular among young Metro commuters.
“I was inspired by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. When I decided to create a portal, I wanted it to be unique and the very thought struck me when I was travelling in the Metro,” Suri, a student of the New Delhi Management Institute, told IANS.
Suri said the idea of creating an exclusive portal for Metro commuters came to his mind during his usual one-hour travel from Janakpuri to Saket on the Metro, characterised by stiff, poker-faced fellow commuters and a fleeting realisation of the loneliness and isolation of urban life.
The portal was launched in January and in less than two months, around 1,200 people have registered and 8,000 people liked the community on Facebook.
“It’s not just one among the many networking portals available on the net. It has its own set of users like Metro commuters. While signing up on the portal, we seek specific details like the route taken by a person and the time usually a person boards and alights,” he said.
The portal also asks for details such as your sexual orientation, personality traits, height and waist size, and whether you’re signing up for dating or friendship.
“Now, getting friends or a partner to date is easier for Metro commuters,” Suri smiled.
“After a person signs up, he or she is given a unique bluetooth code. While travelling, you’ll have to turn on your bluetooth device, and set a phone name to metromates.in/yourusername. After you do that, other metromates users will be visible on your (GPRS-enabled) phone,” he said.
Besides these, one can also view other profiles, note down their profile names and type ‘metromates.in/(the other persons profile name)’ in the browser to connect with them and exchange bluetooth messages.
For easy identification, the portal asks its users to travel in the last compartments.
As many as 493 members have already registered on the Jahangir Puri-Huda City Centre route, which mainly carries college students. The Dwarka sector 21-Noida City Centre line has 444 members.
As many as 116 members have registered on the Dilshad Garden-Rithala route, 102 members on the Central Secretariat-Badarpur route and 47 on the Inderlok-Mundka route.
Most of the users are between 20 and 30 years and a majority prefer dating to making friends.
“Metromates has got me new friends. Usually, I really get bored as I travel from Malviya Nagar to Noida City Centre. Now I have got three friends. If more members use the portal, it will be more fun,” said Avinash Sen, a hotel management student, who has been using the service since Feb 12.
And what next?
Suri said metromates would soon arrange a get- together for all its users.
According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI), there are nearly 52 million internet users in India. Mobile internet users currently number around 10 million and most of them use it for social networking.
And how many of them are looking for love?
Statistics are not available on that yet, but as Suri and his fellow travellers will tell you, there are quite a few!
(Prathiba Raju can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)