"Pen Pals" Joins the Internet Age

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New iPhone app connects people around the world based on common interests, moods, and age.

One of the oldest traditions of the “Snail Mail Age” was the practice of Pen Pals, where school children made friends and learned about different cultures by writing letters to other kids around the country and around the world. Though this form of communication has nearly disappeared in the Internet Age, a new iPhone app called “MEEP” (“Meeting People”) has revived the valued relationship-building concept of the Pen Pal.

The MEEP app first compiles some basic personal information such as interests and age. It then takes that information and connects you to someone else who it determines is a personal match. MEEP then provides over 300 conversation starters to help get the conversation going. Once the conversation begins, MEEP tracks how long the conversation lasts, and if it lasts long enough, MEEP automatically puts that person in your MEEP bank. This allows you to contact them via MEEP at any time in the future, ensuring any good friends you meet through MEEP do not slip through the cracks. In addition, MEEP allows you to send pictures back and forth. This allows MEEP friends to share virtually anything, from fantastic views to new clothes. Finally, MEEP ensures your connections will be worthwhile, because if the response time is too long, it will automatically connect you with someone else who is more engaged in the conversation.

MEEP profiles were created to be fully customizable to ensure that whoever MEEP matches you with reflects your current mood and interests. MEEP allows you to change your mood profile, meaning if you’ve had a great day it won’t match you with someone having a rough day. Further, you can always modify your interests and topics you’d like to discuss, so you can be matched with someone who interested in talking about whatever topic you feel like discussing at that time. Additionally, MEEP will only match people of similar age ranges. Photos can be added to your MEEP profile by uploading one from your phone or by connecting directly to your Facebook profile. This allows you to show people who they are talking with.

“MEEP's highly intuitive and functional format will alter the landscape of social interaction,” said MEEP Chief Marketing Officer Alex Jeffries. “MEEP was designed to bring social interaction to you, wherever you are, and create worthwhile relationships with people that you would never physically encounter. The beta user feedback has been unbelievably positive."

MEEP is yet another project developed by Los Angeles-based Mention Mobile, and backed by Tiforp Ventures and the Merey Group, two fast-growing venture capital firms specializing in social network and payments industry investments. Headed by young entrepreneurs Mike Abdy and Carlos F. Meneses, Tiforp and the Merey Group are tracking with a number of successful entertainment, web application products. The two CU students have partnered together to get international investors behind a series of domestic social networking and payments industry products and services.

“MEEP is a perfect way to build a diverse network of friends around the world who share common interests,” said Meneses. “Quick chats can turn into great conversations. You can change topics, change moods, or MEEP a new friend.”

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Zachary Friedman