RAPID CITY, S.D. — What’s scarier than the terrors of Halloween? For many people, it’s trying to find love on a dating app.
Computer science students from South Dakota Mines have built a new dating app, Lafdr, that matches people based on their taste in memes. After testing a prototype, the app for IOS and Android launched last month.
Morgan Vagts and Debbie Liknes, who both graduated from Mines in May, channeled their frustration with existing dating apps by creating their own. Lafdr’s algorithm, built by Liknes, connects like-minded users through the memes they enjoy on the app.
“Memes are a great conversation starter,” Vagts said. “It keeps the conversation light and lets people be themselves. … If you can laugh at a meme together, you know you have something in common.”
Vagts said Lafdr is designed to help people find friendship or romantic connections, or users can simply browse the memes on Lafdr. Vagts and Liknes spent two years developing the app. It’s geared toward college-age students but could potentially appeal to ages 18 to 35.
“We were just sitting in Debbie’s living room, talking about the perils of online dating, and she joked about the idea of a meme-based app. And I thought, ‘Yes. That’s brilliant, let’s do it,’ and it evolved from there,” Vagts said.
More than 90% of current college students have used a dating app, Vagts said, and there are more than one million memes shared on platforms like Instagram every day, the Rapid City Journal reported.
“There’s a lot of dating apps out there. They’re all the same idea of swiping on somebody’s profile and they’re based primarily on looks. You usually have to do an extra click (to get to their bio),” Vagts said. “It was interesting to find out we are the first people to try something really new, to take the idea of what a dating app is and put more of a spin on it.”
“While you’re on Lafdr, you don’t have to be thinking about all the people who didn’t like you and just having dry conversations. It’s a more fun and open atmosphere than most of the dating apps out there,” she said.
On the first day Lafdr officially launched, Vagts said it attracted double the number of users who’d been trying the prototype. A few weeks later, the Lafdr team promoted the app via an Instagram campaign and doubled the number …….