independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

New app lets strangers analyse why relationships go wrong

CONFUSED about why a relationship went wrong or the true meaning of a text message? A new web app that relies on the comments of strangers may provide some clarity.

The app, called Impressions, was recently launched on the website Wotwentwrong, which lets users anonymously get feedback from their exes.

With Impressions people can create a timeline of their relationships and mark milestones, such as their first date or kiss, and embed polls to get feedback and advice on everything from the significance of a text to dealing with arguments.

"It's not the sanitized content you get from the magazines or all the online blogs that give you the 'top ten reasons why this happened' or 'five ways to do that'. It's real situations and advice," said Audrey Melnik, the founder of San Francisco-based start-up Wotwentwrong.

"You're doing all of this anonymously so you can really expel those feelings of anxiety."

Melnik said the app was created to help relieve the uncertainty and anxiety that relationships can produce by providing advice on how to proceed in situations that may cause confusion.

"It's also about self-improvement," said Melnik, adding that while many people focus on improving their professional habits, they often ignore their personal relationships.

"People are going on all these online dates, meeting people and dating them, and they're failing for various reasons," she explained. "They're not aware about what they might be doing wrong, and gaining any new skills in how to be better in dating."

Although some critics might argue that divulging details about a relationship online may verge on the obsessive, Melnik argues that it is no different than what happens in daily life.

"Who doesn't obsess about their relationships?" she said. "All we're doing is taking what is already happening offline and presenting it online," she explained.

Another web app launched recently called, HeTexted, also taps into crowdsourcing, the collective knowledge of a group of people. It helps women decipher the meaning of puzzling text messages.

Melnik believes one of the main sources of anxiety in relationships is the lack of communication and cites the text message as the prime source of ambiguity.

"We're not hearing tone, so we lose a lot of actual data," she said. "If you want to have a conversation, you should use something that's more conducive to a two-way conversation -- like a phone."

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