BWF, WTF?

Politicians are supposed to be cocksure, it comes with the territory. But New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner aka Carlos Danger, with his penchant for online penis exposure via lewd “sexts”, has set a new standard. Apparently no fewer than four “cock-shots” of the unfortunately named Weiner have been scrutinized extensively for political and psychological purposes. The New York Times, in typically restrained fashion, called for him to pull out. Presumably, they meant the upcoming erection. Sorry, I mean election.

Weiner, apparently a savvy user of social networks for political purposes, is a complete neophyte when it comes to using the new media for sexual liaisons. He would do well to learn from Colin Hodge and his two college frat boy buddies, creators of Facebook app “Bang with Friends” (BWF). BWF links with a user’s Facebook account and allows him or her to indicate which one of their friends they would like to “bang”. With a few clicks, BWF transforms your perfectly innocent list of Facebook friends into something infinitely more sinister; it becomes your personal carnal shopping catalog. Your choices are completely confidential, and your status is “Awaiting Bang” until such time as a selected friend indicates that you might be on their own wish list i.e. they are “Down to Bang”. At that point, the connection is made, and you’re in business. “When and where is up to you. Bang Safely!” the website suggests helpfully You might say I’m out of touch, and that would be the understatement of the century, but I mean seriously, wtf???

BWF was launched (presumably, with a bang) in January and growth has been explosive, with five new hopeful bangers signing up every minute. A mobile version for banging on the move was an obvious evolution. My initial reaction on learning about BWF was that these kids may have come up with a classic killer app for Facebook. After all, it is well researched and documented that the #1 activity for Facebook users is checking out other people’s profiles, and the leap from voyeurism to a physical relationship seems like a logical one. But on reflection, the controversial business model – to the extent there is one – raises some interesting ethical and even legal issues. Should BWF charge by the bang? The founder’s email address (pimpin@bangwithfriends.com) suggests ambitions in this direction.

Intrigued, I decided to ask my son about BWF; as a college junior in the US, he fits the target demographic perfectly. His response, typically to the point and cutting to the heart of the issue, was that “it’s creepy”, and he suggested his friends think so too. Apparently, the popular and not so creepy app for those looking for casual sex on the go is Tinder, a location based smartphone app which allows users to browse through (Facebook) photos of nearby subscribers. If someone catches your fancy and the feelings happen to be mutual, a liaison is arranged. Founder Justin Mateen says Tinder has made 100m matches since its launch in September, leading to 50 marriage proposals. He says “we’ve only been really going for 9 months, there could be a baby popping out soon.”

There’s clearly a whole new world out there, one that has and will continue to completely pass me by. Nevertheless, those of you fortunate enough to be befriended by me on Facebook would have noted my new “I’m sexy and I know it” profile pic. I’m still hopeful this story ends with a bang.

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