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Love pagers

By ramses0 in Culture
Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 09:58:44 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

I've been saving this writeup for Kuro5hin ever since an article appeared in Slashdot which describes love pagers.

For those who aren't familiar with the "Lovegetys", "Lovegetters" or "Flirtys" (depending on the country), the device is simple. It looks like a pager except it's pink if you're a girl, and blue if you're a guy. When two of the same devices come within range of one another, both will start to beep and blink. These devices also have toggle-switches which determine whether you're looking for 'talking', 'dating', or 'friendship'. If both devices are set the same, they'll beep and blink quicker.

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comments (24)
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I think this is a great way to meet people- no need to bother with having a conversation, just wait until your pager blinks, and you know that the two of you have something in common.

I don't think this tool is sophisticated enough yet to be useful. Without some sort of rudimentary age, sexual preference, or "drug and disease free" switches, the only thing this tells you is that the other person was also dumb enough to shell out $20 bucks in hopes of one day getting a date.

Even with these drawbacks (plus the fact that they probably communicate with a proprietary/closed protocol) there is definitely some good reasons for having a broadcasting transmitter in your pocket.

Ed from Slashdot made some very good points in his post:

Sound like you've not spent much time in clubs (whether Tokyo or elsewhere). Quiet conversation is impossible. Hell, some places any conversation is impossible. Appearance and "style" rule--they often are the only possible way to choose what new people to meet. A more intelligent reason for going off to a corner and having a (probably shouted) conversation with someone is a Good Thing.
"Intimacy without social interaction" is an oxymoron. Social interaction needs an initiator, especially in large groups in noisy environments. This device can provide that initiator. At that point, as always, you're on your own.

Ed really strikes to the heart of the matter: starting a conversation is difficult, and this is not only at clubs. Make a list of all the people you would have liked to meet, converse with, or talk to. If you're anything like me, people are added to that list every day.

These little pagers seem to provide a nice "hook" to meet people. I'm currently single but even when I go to clubs or bars I always feel uncomfortable "checking out" girls. Of course I appreciate beauty very much, but it feels disrespectful to leer. Besides- I'm much more likely to be impressed by an insightful comment than a curvacious body. However, as Ed points out, conversation can be almost impossible. This puts guys who are interested in more than a girl's body in a tough situation. Once you do begin a conversation, it is sometimes difficult to find common ground. Repeat these steps throughout the night, and it's easy to get frustrated.

It's much easier to start conversations in the chatrooms where I hang out. Mostly because the information on Yahoo's profile pages give you something to talk about.

It's quite possible that my view is skewed- I admit that I'm a geek, but well-balanced. I spend a lot of time using computers and the internet, mostly because it's convenient. The idea of carrying over convenience from the internet to real life is appealing. These Lovegety pagers seem interesting because they're a first step towards automatically introducing people. Starting a real conversation can be expensive and frustrating, but reading a random person's profile who catches your eye is at least as effective as telling someone that you like their shirt.

If I had my way, these little gizmo's would collect everyone's homepage address as you walked around, kindof like a little business card. Of course, the protocol would be open so that people could hack their palm pilots to be compatible. In addition, I'd set it up so that using the device was more dynamic and interesting... make a website with "weekly questions", or "pick the top three choices". Fill out the survey, plug in a "coded response" to the device, and if two people answered the same, make it beep.

There's a lot of potential for good (as well as potential for abuse) but something like this could be the next step where technology makes inroads into daily life.



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Love pagers | 28 comments (28 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
The article said... ... (3.00 / 1) (#2)
by tnt on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 07:03:21 PM EST

tnt voted 1 on this story.

The article said...

there is definitely some good reasons for having a broadcasting transmitter in your pocket.
I can think of some reasons why you would not want to have something broadcasting in your pocket? (What frequency are these things broadcasting at?)


Also, I think there is alot more to this type of thing, than just having matching profiles.

(And do remember, that by having one of these you are giving up a certain amount of privacy. Whether you're OK with that or not is another questions.)

     Charles Iliya Krempeaux, B.Sc.
  Kuro5hin user #279

Well written, thoughtul, complete w... (1.00 / 1) (#5)
by raph on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 07:03:22 PM EST

raph voted 1 on this story.

Well written, thoughtul, complete with citations. To me, this is what a kuro5hin posting should be.

Conversation starting is always har... (1.00 / 1) (#4)
by MrNixon on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 07:15:41 PM EST

MrNixon voted 1 on this story.

Conversation starting is always hard. After that it's easy. I'd like to hear what the rest of you have to say

Re: Conversation starting is always har... (none / 0) (#23)
by Skippy on Wed Apr 12, 2000 at 12:19:27 PM EST

Gee. I always find the opposite. I can always start a conversation. I never seem to get past that. (And no, its not the conversation topics I pick :-))
# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #
[ Parent ]
While I am not anti-Slashdot per se... (2.00 / 2) (#3)
by evro on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 07:27:29 PM EST

evro voted -1 on this story.

While I am not anti-Slashdot per se, I think rehashing old stuff from Slashdot is not the way to go. It makes this site seem like, well, rehashed stuff from Slashdot. While the topic is interesting, I think it could do without the numerous Slashdot references.
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"

Re: While I am not anti-Slashdot per se... (none / 0) (#27)
by nascent on Wed Apr 12, 2000 at 05:33:07 PM EST

Not running a story because Slashdot already did would be as stupid as CNN.com not running a story on Mir because ABCNews.com already did.

News is news is news is news. If it's geek and culture, I don't care if there is a fsckin' infomercial about it, I want to see what people HERE think of it.
[ Parent ]

Re: While I am not anti-Slashdot per se... (none / 0) (#28)
by rusty on Wed Apr 12, 2000 at 06:14:16 PM EST

I second that.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Gets my vote because 1) culture 2) ... (1.00 / 1) (#6)
by nascent on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 07:35:08 PM EST

nascent voted 1 on this story.

Gets my vote because 1) culture 2) tech 3) great writeup.

One of the best ways to meet people... (3.50 / 2) (#7)
by Pike on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 07:38:22 PM EST

Pike voted 1 on this story.

One of the best ways to meet people and make friends is to join a choir. Do it even if you can't sing. It's more fun than you'd think.


I'm a serious introvert myself, and... (3.00 / 1) (#9)
by magney on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 07:51:45 PM EST

magney voted 1 on this story.

I'm a serious introvert myself, and most of my social interaction takes place on MU*s and web boards. I have no life. :) I'm not sure if I'd get much out of one of these, but if nothing else, having one would encourage me to get out more, even if it never actually went off. And that would be a good thing. I seem to remember from the Slashdot story something about how you might have a rudimentary profile in one of these things, and it'd be more responsive to someone whose profile matched yours. One thing about the devices as described, though, is that they only go off for the opposite sex, which makes them less than useful for gays and lesbians. Is there an "orientation" switch on these?

Do I look like I speak for my employer?

Well written, although not incredib... (2.00 / 1) (#10)
by scriptkiddie on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 08:18:54 PM EST

scriptkiddie voted 1 on this story.

Well written, although not incredibly informative (the article that is). I'm not sure Ramses0 is aware that these thingies have been around in Japan for a few years, and are very popular among teenagers. Does anyone have any experience with these gizmos?

Old news alreddie... not to mention... (1.00 / 1) (#8)
by warpeightbot on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 09:18:51 PM EST

warpeightbot voted -1 on this story.

Old news alreddie... not to mention there are much cheaper ways to meet MOTAS... flush-o-rama.

Re: Old news alreddie... not to mention... (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by ramses0 on Wed Apr 12, 2000 at 12:13:28 AM EST

I think both you and rusty keep misspelling your acronyms: "MOTOS" (for "opposite" sex, i'd think).

Anyway, how would you go about meeting girls, especially where you'd have a chance to talk with them? One girl I talked to recommended trying to pick up women in clothing stores. I was a little bit confused by exactly how you'd go about "picking up chicks" in a clothing store so I asked her to explain. The converstation turned out a little like this...

me: ...but how exactly do you hit on a girl in a clothing store?

her: just tell her that she looks nice

me: you mean that's it? this whole time i've been single, all i had to do was tell a girl that she looks nice?

me: ...even if I did do that, how can you avoid the obligatory "uncomfortable silence" that always seems to follow?

her: ask her what she's doing there

me: ???

her: ask her if she's buying clothes for a wedding

me: ...you seem to have this all figured out... you should write a book :^)=

Anyway, this conversation actually happened, but I haven't gotten around to trying it yet. If only I had one of these beepers... ;^)=

[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

Re: Old news alreddie... not to mention... (3.00 / 1) (#16)
by magney on Wed Apr 12, 2000 at 12:34:44 AM EST

Actually, MOTAS is correct - it stands for Member Of The Appropriate Sex.

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

Re: Old news alreddie... not to mention... (4.00 / 1) (#18)
by rusty on Wed Apr 12, 2000 at 12:36:54 AM EST

Or my variation-- POTAS: Person of the Appropriate Sex, which has the advantage of sounding like the Secret Service's designation for the President (POTUS), thus making dating seem like a cloak-and-dagger international-intrigue type activity. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
[OT]You know this article realy mak... (none / 0) (#1)
by kraant on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 09:58:44 PM EST

kraant voted 1 on this story.

[OT]You know this article realy makes me wonder whether I should bring my flirting guide out of retirement.

(Warning it started a massive flamewar and numerous parodies the last time it came out of retirement.

daniel - demitroll
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...

Re: [OT]You know this article realy mak... (none / 0) (#14)
by ramses0 on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 11:48:43 PM EST

Please share! My roomie's girlfriend keeps making fun of me because I don't ever "get" when women are (almost) throwing their numbers at my feet. Anything that can help me out would be very welcome ;^)=

[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

Re: [OT]You know this article realy mak... (none / 0) (#24)
by Strange Charmed One on Wed Apr 12, 2000 at 03:17:14 PM EST

Why not? We haven't yet had a flamewar here : )

Seriously, it should be interesting to read.

Feel the urge to put excessively cute little quotes into your .sig?


If you or one of your friends is frequently plagued by this tendency, Help IS available- Ask me how.
[ Parent ]

needs a geek toggle.... (none / 0) (#11)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 10:40:34 PM EST

I remember seeing something about this on the daily show, cept it was for homosexuals, I thought it was kinda funny at the time, but I guess if I could put in my own profile and have it match up with a simiular profile that would be really useful (geek, but is also half artist and poet, not to concered with looks, likes people of the opposite sex and intelligent conversation, etc etc)

You cain't always want what you are... (2.50 / 2) (#12)
by rusty on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 11:01:54 PM EST

...to bastardize a line from the Stones.

I still maintain (err, "still" meaning "since my moderation comment on that other relationship story that didn't get posted") that 90% (or more) of us would be totally unhappy with the person we "designed" to be attractive. That is to say, if most people were allowed to plug a bunch of criteria in a machine, and pull the lever, and out pops the POTAS you just described, 9 times out of ten, it'd be a flop. The same pretty much holds for these, except that they're less binding.

I'd love to see someone do a study about the social effects of these thingies. And hey, it'd be sociology, so no sweat. You could do it, like, on your lunch break. :-) Anyway, My hypothesis is, the vast majority of the time, they detect each other, match up, beep, and people say hi. Two minutes into the conversation they're both itching to get away. But I bet more "friends" get dates out of these things than any other way.

"So her love pager goes off, and she was a total luser, but she had this cute friend..."

In my experience, what people think they want is never what they end up falling for. My (Ob"wonderful, perfect") girlfriend is really nothing like me. She's responsible, I'm ir-, she's sane, I'm in-, she's social (relatively), I'm anti-. And the list goes on. I'm having an effect-- she now laughs at MS TV commercials too, but still, we're very different. And that's *why* we're so perfect together.

Ok, I'm a bit tired, so excuse the incoherence of this. :-)

Not the real rusty

Re: You cain't always want what you are... (none / 0) (#13)
by lachoy on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 11:38:31 PM EST

I agree entirely. (In fact, I think instead of 9 out of 10 times being a flop, I think it would be 99 out of a 100.) Fortunately, love can't be programmed, no matter how hard some people try. I'd like to have a little unknowable chaos in my life, thank you very much! (Not that the device behind this topic is trying to do this, just flowing with the comment....)

If I were in a relationship with myself, one of us would get a frying pan upside the head; restraining orders would surely follow....
M-x auto-bs-mode
[ Parent ]

Re: You cain't always want what you are... (none / 0) (#17)
by rusty on Wed Apr 12, 2000 at 12:35:04 AM EST

If you were in a relationship with yourself... well, frying pans would probably be the least of your worries. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
What I'd like to see is... (4.00 / 1) (#19)
by Imperator on Wed Apr 12, 2000 at 06:22:52 AM EST


"Greetings, user. After you login successfully (I'll exec to that in a few
milliseconds), you may wish to talk(1) with the following users:

great topic, Slash hyperlink bad (none / 0) (#20)
by xah on Wed Apr 12, 2000 at 07:42:58 AM EST

This is a great topic. It's really very interesting. I would buy one of these if I ever saw one for sale.

But please, can we avoid hyperlinking to Slashdot? I like Slashdot as much as the next geek, but I'd like to see K5 develop a separate identity, and not just spin off and rehash old Slashdot topics.

(By the way, why is the font ultra-small now in the comment editing window? I can barely read this. Any typo is still my bad.)

Pardon me for being cynical but... (none / 0) (#21)
by Anonymous Hero on Wed Apr 12, 2000 at 08:58:14 AM EST

It seems to me that these doo-dads are really just a way of finding someone who wants to hook-up. Even the club use example seems to indicate this. More low-tech signals that serve this purpose already exist guys...

And anyway, do people actually have _relationships_ with those they meet in clubs?

Re: Pardon me for being cynical but... (none / 0) (#25)
by Nyarlathotep on Wed Apr 12, 2000 at 04:57:40 PM EST

I think it's a mistake to think these things serve a useful function in a club. You know people at clubs want to meet people. Seriously, you'r going to walk into the club and have your pager go off. Duh! There are people here who want to meet people. I think this device is more useful for people who want to meet people at subway stations, resterants, walking in the park, etc. I could see people using a beeper which said "I'm eating luch for the next 20 min, but your welcome to come sitdown and talk to me."

Note: what you do not know about people at clubs is what they want from people they meet. I think a much more useful thing for club goers would be "clothing signals" (or a more complex beeper) related to interests or intentions (i.e. I want to have a one night stand with a tall woman or I want to have a conversation about poetry).

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]

Re: Love pagers (none / 0) (#22)
by stimuli on Wed Apr 12, 2000 at 10:26:14 AM EST

All the talk in the article about meating people in really loud clubs makes me question the wisdom of trying to meet people in really loud clubs.
-- Jeffrey Straszheim

Re: Love pagers (none / 0) (#26)
by nascent on Wed Apr 12, 2000 at 05:29:23 PM EST

Hehehehe. He said "meat people". Hehehehe.
[ Parent ]
Love pagers | 28 comments (28 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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