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    Treetins.com is trying to make social networking ‘stranger-friendly’

    If your resolution this year is to make as many new friends as possible, you’re in luck. Taking the ‘icky’ factor out of striking up conversations with complete strangers, treetins.com is a new social networking platform that is gaining ground. Treetins—an anagram of the word interest—was born out of the serendipity of meeting strangers. “Remember the early days of Yahoo messenger?” asks Prince Jacob Thomas, a Mumbai-based entrepreneur who founded Treetins with his three friends. “We connected with total strangers half way across the world. But then the ‘creeps’ surfaced and people closed off. We restricted our network to friends and family.”

    Now, fatigue has set in. “We scroll through timelines, seeing the same faces and giving pictures mandatory ‘likes’,” he says. “Where is the excitement—that zing when two like-minded people meet?”

    On Treetins, you start off anonymously. You follow people with similar ideas (through blogs, photographs or videos), and as conversations progress, you can reveal your identity. “You never know who you’ll bump into. And this anonymity makes the whole experience less creepy,” says Chandy Thomas, one of the other co-founders, along with Mohit Narwal and Aditya Dhull.

    The site, which went live on December 5, is already attracting a lot of attention—partly due to their fun offline promotions. They collaborated with restaurants to place little jars with flags that say ‘Hi :)’. If anyone wanted to share their table with a stranger, they just had to flip the flag up. “The idea has caught on so much that we have places like Hard Rock Cafe wanting to take it outside Mumbai—to Bangalore and Chennai,” laughs Thomas.

    Log on to treetins (you can use Facebook, Twitter or your e-mail address) and flag off a new experience.

    Surya Praphulla Kumar



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