The art of texting has drastically affected our dating scene.
Some say it's a talent, and its impact is so severe and widespread that Aziz Ansari wrote a 288 page book dealing exclusively with the subject.
And while many people aren’t necessarily charming or witty in the real world, when it comes to texting, they are able to deliver the most appropriately lengthed, well-timed answers to woo the opposite sex. “Text game” is simply a different animal than real life charisma. I personally fall victim to a text blunder about once a week and I literally get paid to write for a living.
One LA company hopes to help texting-impaired romantics by outsourcing those crucial responses to someone who has the magic touch: a Textpert.
How it all began
When Ray Christian began dating a girl in LA last year, he noticed her texts were becoming increasingly stagnant. In desperation, he handed the phone to his little sister:
“I passed her my phone and asked her to text this girl, carte blanche,” Christian said. “So she texts the girl and the girl responds back five minutes later. So I asked her to do it again. The girl responded instantly. I asked her to do it a third and final time. The girl responds back and says ‘I want to see you tonight.’ The lightbulb went off and I realized this was something we needed to scale.”
Six months later, he recruited co-founders Kate Edwards and Nick Goehner to create Textpert, a community-driven texting advice app.
Users can screenshot their text conversation and upload it into the app. Before submitting, they can add any additional context to explain the situation or the recipient. Within minutes Textperts respond with advice on what to say, allowing users to pick the best response and rate the selected Textpert.
Anyone has the ability to become a Textpert on the app and their responses are measured by five star rating — a feature that Christian believes will bring out the competitive nature amongst friends to become the top Textpert.
The app is entirely bootstrapped and has gained close to 1,000 users since its launch in July. After initial hesitations on whether people would want to illicit text help from strangers, Christian says the overall response to the app has been positive and the community of users ranges from college students to 30-somethings.
“We think the diversity of responses is a good thing. We kind of like the idea of a 30-year-old responding to a 20-year-old or visa versa to help them mix it up a little bit.”
Los Angeles: The Matchmaking Capital of the World
With Tinder, Grindr, and countless other dating apps headquartered in LA, it’s becoming hard to deny Los Angeles’ status as the Matchmaking App capital of the world. Textpert hopes to feed off this status by helping people transition from initial banter to scheduling dates.
“LA has an extremely unique dating scene, it’s almost like grown up high school,” Christian explained. “You have tons and tons of attractive people and there’s a competitiveness that commoditizes relationships. When there is this many options and people have these tools to get better access to these options, it's like blood in the water.”
What's next for Textpert
Textpert will soon launch its college campus campaign, beginning with USC and UCLA, before hitting the fundraising trail. Ultimately, Textpert hopes to host celebrities and dating experts that can charge for their texting advice.
Despite any criticism the app may receive for generating impersonal messages, Christian believes the company’s intentions are in the right place:
“Texting, at the end of the day, isn’t really you because you can take five minutes and come up with the coolest response. So with that in mind, our goal is to help people get on dates and fall in love. Because once you’re on that date, it’s up to you.”
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