“Prospect: Find Your Tiger” creator Paddy Boroughs ’18 displays his product in Small World Coffee
Similar to dating apps like Tinder, “Prospect: Find Your Tiger” allows users to privately message one another after establishing mutual interest.
“You can search and find any undergraduate student, and add them to your interests without them knowing,” reads the app’s description. “If one of your interests marks you as interested, you match! Matched pairs can then make use of the chat feature.”
Boroughs, the app’s creator, began working on the project the last week of winter break and released it on the App Store about two weeks ago. Boroughs said he made the app for people who feel the need to ask someone out but want to make sure the interest is mutual prior to doing so.
“The only way for it to be successful is to know if someone’s interested in you or not,” said Boroughs. “So that’s why I came up with the app; it’s a way for you to actively express interest in people without them knowing unless they’re interested back. The whole idea is that it’s risk-free dating.”
The free app is exclusively for undergraduates, requiring a CAS login to enter. Students can search other students’ profiles and mark as many profiles as they are interested in. However, students are only notified if an interest is mutual, after which students can chat. The app can filter by residential college, department, or class year.
A student’s profile includes a profile picture and a 40-character bio. All undergraduates already have profiles on the app, consisting of their University prox headshot and a blank bio. To update one’s profile, a student must download the app from the iOS store.
“Filtering by res college is really funny,” said Sam Einspahr ’20. “The res college really isn’t a good marker of personality, which is what I feel most dating apps filter for. I will admit it’s a unique idea.”
Boroughs remarked that while he did not believe the filters would be used extensively, he did want the option there for those who may want to find someone with similar classes or a similar major.
Because Prospect automatically includes all undergraduates’ names, majors, residential colleges, and prox headshots, some students are hesitant about the new app.
“I think that this app represents a breach of our privacy, given the fact that they’re using my information and face without my permission,“ said Noah Schochet ‘21.
Others, like Amy Jeon ’21, suggested giving students the choice to opt in or out instead of automatically receiving a profile. She said this would make students more comfortable, and thought it would work better anyway.
“If there was an opt-in option, it wouldn't be as weird, like other dating apps,” said Jeon. “I would think that would give me and other people less hesitation.”
Boroughs stated that, should the app gain substantial popularity, he does have plans to add a feature where one could filter only for people who are active within the app.
Boroughs received the undergraduate student body information from the Residential College Facebooks, and hopes to reassure users concerned about privacy that all information was secured within the CAS system, so only other undergraduates could see the information.
“The official guideline is that if your application is secured with CAS, that information can be displayed. No non-Princeton undergraduate could ever see that information, and they’re seeing less information than they could on the residential college Facebooks,” said Boroughs. “It’s not giving people more information than has already been given.”
Some interviewed students felt their peers’ privacy concerns were somewhat redundant. These students argue that since information is already accessible through Tigerbook, one additional way to search for students makes little difference.
“I don’t see how the information already being there actually affects me,” said Brooks Eikner ’21. “I wouldn’t use it probably, but I’m sure it will be relatively popular.”
Excluding privacy concerns, a few other Princeton students, such as Einspahr, believed the very idea of a Princeton dating app seems out of place and unnecessary.
“I’m sure some people on campus will be interested, but it strikes me as so weird,” said Einsphar. “Usually dating apps are for people in places where meeting people isn’t readily available, but on a college campus that’s not really much of an issue.”
As of Feb. 13, the app currently has 287 users, with 194 matches already made. Boroughs himself stated that the app is growing “very quickly.”
The app is similar to an app for students at MIT. The two apps are functionally the same, although the MIT app allows people to link their Facebook profiles.
“There's plenty of people who make it and never look at it again, and then there's people who use it a bunch,” said Dylan Lewis, MIT class of 2020, in reference to the app.
Boroughs also has possible plans in the next few weeks for a swiping feature similar to Tinder for people who do not have specific interests and would prefer to just scroll through other profiles.