Sitting in the library and attempting to focus on studying becomes complicated by that cute engineer in the study room who is looking at six different calculators or that redhead in glasses mouthing the words to the song in her earbuds because she is so enveloped in her own world.
When their eyes meet, and that flicker of butterflies becomes visible across each of their faces, they both know that minimalistic exchange will probably never go any further than that. But what if it could? What if we could be a part of a virtual community – one comprised of hormone- driven Bradley students presenting themselves anonymously?
Such a community exists at Likealittle.com. This virtual world allows Bradley students (and students at other colleges, too) to connect with one another through various flirtations. For example, if I saw a guy with huge calves at Markin, I could post something like “I see you all the time when you are running the track. I love the way your legs make your blue booty shorts pop. I think I am in love.” These postings are completely anonymous and users post the gender, hair color and location of the person they wish to connect with.
As an investigative journalist, I decided to use the service for what it was intended for. I’ve got to be honest, the feeling of connecting with people and sending out an interesting, thought provoking sentiment brought back the same feelings of doubt I experienced when entering creepy Yahoo chat rooms in high school.
Sitting in the library, I set out to flirt with someone and quickly realized it was hard work. Of the 10 people I sent out “flirt” messages to, none responded. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that my assigned tag was “eggplant.” Nobody likes eggplant.
However, when someone finally sent me a message, I was elated. “Cranberry” was inquiring why I was using the site at 7:30 in the morning. My response was that I had been desperately trying to flirt with someone for two days. Talk about creepy, but Cranberry was very easy to get along with via computer interface and informed me that he or she was a freshman. With my luck they were probably also female. But at that point I didn’t care – I just wanted to flirt. Not that I did much of that. I spent most of the conversation asking what they thought of the site.
Cranberry was not exactly impressed and stated, “i mean, listen to this… ‘I’ve only followed you once or twice so I know you live in U-hall=) I want to be the 3 sweeteners you put into your morning tea at williams just to get inside that mouth!’”
What can this kind of service do for the Bradley community? Well it certainly gives online creeping a whole new meaning. The site even features a chat option, complete with anonymous fruit and vegetable tags like “pumpkin” and “melon.” These are ambiguously assigned to users so they can anonymously live chat not only with Bradley students but people who are near them on campus.
This means if you are sitting in the library (or anywhere else on campus) and see a cute guy or girl, you can post something intriguing about them in hopes they will respond. Or you could randomly try to “flirt” with people near you, with the sense of wonder that the hottie in the study room next to you could be the kiwifruit you are talking to.
As with many services, the intended purpose doesn’t always catch on right away. Many users are just friends sitting next to each other in the library, posting the creepiest thing they can think of in an attempt to be cool college kids.
Maybe this is just a bridge to bigger things – more conversations, more connections, more experiences. And isn’t that the very message Bradley holds so dear?
If anything, this site promotes Bradley as more of a community. We all go to the library, we all go to the cafeteria, but are we really paying attention to one another? Apparently the users of this site certainly are. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing.