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Frank Gray

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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Abdullah Bakhsh, left, and Dan Cavins of Carroll High School have produced an app meant to soften the sting of rejection.

Rejection? There’s an app for that

Life in middle and high school has doubtlessly changed a lot since I was a student, but one thing hasn’t changed.

If you try to flirt with a person who has no interest in flirting back, you’re liable to be shot down in flames and be labeled a creep, though the modern term, I’m told, is “creeper.”

It’s just one of the dangers of being a human.

A couple of students at Carroll High School, though, have come up with what they think might be a way to make your feelings known to someone and avoid crashing and burning if it’s not a good idea.

The idea came to senior Dan Cavins about two years ago, and just last month he teamed up with classmate Abdullah Bakhsh to write an app.

The notion is that in middle school and high school, virtually everyone is friends with everyone on Facebook. It’s not uncommon for a person to have hundreds, maybe even a thousand or more, friends. Those friendships, though, are pretty shallow.

What, though, if you are Internet friends with someone but want a little more substantial friendship?

Bakhsh has developed an app, which can be found at lanternmatch.com. Users who go to the site are automatically connected to their Facebook page. A user can then “heart” individuals they find attractive.

The trick is, if you send someone a heart, they don’t even know it, and if you never hear anything back, you know this wasn’t a match made anywhere.

What if, though, the other person has the same feelings for you? If they send you a heart – and you’ve sent them a heart – boom, the connection is made.

The mobile app is a way for people to avoid rejection, something that, back in the day, was an inevitable part of life.

The app, which has been up and running for only a few days now, had what Bakhsh called a pretty substantial launch.

Originally, Bakhsh said, his partner in the venture wanted to charge people a small amount to send hearts to people, but they talked it out and decided that sending hearts would be free.

The whole program is aimed at middle and high school students. If the app catches on and lots of people are using it, the app would become profitable because they could sell ads on the app site.

For example, if only 1 percent of Facebook users ended up using the app, that would be 5 million people, a pretty large number of people in a highly desirable demographic.

For now, the pair will just have to wait and see what happens.

The problem is, when it comes to the Internet, people are eager to copy other people’s ideas. Lanternmatch.com was up for only three days and already someone has tried to duplicate it.

Getting rich off this idea is a possibility, but Bakhsh says his biggest reward would be if “I go to Starbucks and hear people talking about a website I built. That’s worth a million to me.”

But I’m sure real money would be good, too.

Frank Gray reflects on his and others’ experiences in columns published Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. He can be reached by phone at 461-8376, by fax at 461-8893, or by email at fgray@jg.net. You can also follow him on Twitter @FrankGrayJG.

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