Chile social network busts shyness

2012-02-12 10:46
Santiago - You're madly in love but you just can't work up the nerve to let him or her know? Chile's social network Huntcha is out to blast through that great wall of shyness and hook people up.

It's been around for just a few months and already some 45 000 people have signed up - perhaps some of them eyeing the celebrations for St Valentine's Day on February 14.

Natalia Rojas is 27, and - hard to imagine for those who are not shy - spent 10 long years in love with the friend of a friend. She dated other people, as did Javier Alvarez, a platonic friend unaware of her true feelings.

They ran into each other at a few parties and events but never said more than "hello".

"That went on for 10 years," she recalled with some dismay.

Surprise

But her luck, and her life, changed when she decided to see if she could use Huntcha to see if there was any chance Javier was interested in her, too.

She got the surprise of her life.

"We have been together for four months now. And this is going to sound impossible, but it is the solidest relationship I have had, in my life," said Natalia, who still can't believe a social network helped bring them together.

Sebastian Arteaga, one of the partners at Huntcha, wants to make something very clear: "We are not a dating site.

"This is a network for people who are romantically interested in someone and have not dared to say so, to do it in a safe place," he said in an interview.

Confidentiality and privacy are key to what Huntcha does.

It uses social media giant Facebook as a platform to put would-be lovers in contact; to verify that people actually do exist; and to check that they already know each other.

Platonic friends

"It works if you want to make known your special interest in friends, teachers, neighbours or your brothers' and sisters' friends, not with people like Angelina Jolie," Arteaga said, explaining that each person's Facebook profile is used as a digital identity document which can be used as a search engine.

When you set up a Huntcha account, you make a list of one to nine platonic friends you would like to turn into something else.

If any of the people listed in turn puts you on their list, shazam, a match is automatically generated. Both parties get a note saying that someone on their list shares a mutual interest.

"At that point, you may well develop acute anxiety wondering who it actually is," he joked.

Then comes the moment to give your would-be suitor a clue: You can send them a song you danced to two years ago, or maybe a video or a photo to help them figure out who you are.

"Why not look for that song that you two danced to, so that the moment they hear it, they know who it is," Arteaga said.

When someone figures out who the clue-dropper is, and the two know there is some mutual admiration, they can contact each other on Facebook, knowing that their love - never before professed - is good news.

Inspired

And the parties involved avoid feeling like idiots in the sometimes cold woods of courting.

For Natalia, Huntcha was all about avoiding frustration.

"If your [currently but hopefully not permanently] platonic interest does not put you on his list, then nothing happens. And he is never even going to know that you were interested in him," she said.

Huntcha said that in its four-month war on shyness, 30 000 people have signed up and more than 1 500 matches have been made.

Early Huntcha use shows some social trends: Women tend to put one or two love interests, while men tend to put more, and change them more often.

Arteaga said the idea for the company was born in a meeting with twins Sebastian and Cristobal Zegers who run an advertising agency, during a brainstorming session on another idea.

The Zegers were inspired by the movie Social Network, which tells the tale of the birth of Facebook which twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss say was their idea which was stolen from them by Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg.

"We realised that Facebook was born as a tool for men to meet women," Arteaga said. So they took it from there, and narrowed their scope. The rest, they hope, will be a shyness-busting smashing success.
- SAPA
Read more on:    facebook  |  social networks
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Movies
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Cape Town 09:37 AM
Road name: N2 Inbound

ROADWORKS - one lane closed at Main Road

Cape Town 06:03 AM
Road name: MetroRail

Train services between Nyanga/Chris Hani (Khayelitsha) and Nyanga/Kapteinsklip remain SUSPENDED - all stations on these sections are CLOSED

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Jan 21 - Feb 18
Jan 21 - Feb 18

You may be inspired to do things that expand your mind in a big way today. You have a need to explore and a need to please....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.