Yet another social network has entered the fray, and its name is ChirpMe. It combines a mix of Facebook, Groupon, Twitter, Match.com, and a FourSquare concept is soon to be added. Founded by Josh Viner and his brother Jonathan (a couple of social visionaries in their own right) ChirpMe launched in January 2011. Within the first 48 hours, more than 1,000 people had already signed up. The boys hope to take the network nationwide in the near future.
“It’s a place where you connect and get to know people, get to know your friends better, and at the same time you can meet new people,” Josh said last week in an interview.
The system draws on this information to populate your account (though you are invited to fill in additional details). The site drives interactions in a variety of ways. During the initial setup, users select New Haven restaurants that they are interested in going to, information which will be used later on by the system to link that user with others who are interested in the same place. The users will be coaxed into going there by means of a special ChirpMe.com-only offer. It’s win-win-win: the users get a date, and a discount on a meal, the restaurant gets more business, and the site gets a kick-back from the restaurant.
The restaurant deals are the best example of spurring in-person contact, but the site also has more conventional electronic interaction methods. For starters, the system asks users randomly-generated questions for them to post answers to on their pages. Users can also trade comments back and forth on each others’ pages a la Facebook. You can even link your ChirpMe status to your Facebook account so that your posts show up in both places.
As previously mentioned, ChirpMe is only available in New Haven right now, but the model is really great for driving hyperlocal commerce and communication. It will take time for the brothers to grow it out to different cities. Larger, sprawling metropolitan areas like New York and Seattle may prove too unwieldy for ChirpMe, however taking a neighborhood-by-neighborhood approach might give them smaller chunks to chew on.