Image from Andrew Saeger / Seattle P-I
So what is Noonhatting? It is the name of a website that lets you enter your e-mail address, what day you want to have lunch and what general area you want to have a lunch in and then a computer program matches you up with up to three other random strangers who want to do lunch in the same geographical area. That’s it… there is no matching for gender and/or age and this is not a dating site and there are no background checks or registration. The potential for discomfort of just two strangers doing lunch on their first (and possibly last) meet is sought to be alleviated by having a group of no larger than four.
Noonhat is the brainchild of Brian Dorsey a software developer in the Seattle area. Link
At first, Dorsey, a software developer at Vulcan, had doubts. When he told
people about the Web site, he said, "I got a lot of blank stares.’What? Huh? Why
would anyone do that?' "
Turns out people do want to break bread with total
strangers. Since Noonhat was launched in June, more than 400 lunches have been
scheduled (although Dorsey doesn't know how many have actually happened).
"I was just kind of thinking that I wanted to have lunch with new people all
the time," said Dorsey, who is 33. "Just from a selfish standpoint, I wanted to
have lunch with a really wide variety of people."
Noonhat offers its service
all over North America, but most of the users so far are in the Seattle metro
area. Dorsey also thinks the site is a good way for out-of-town visitors to meet
up with locals.
There is more at the article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the reporter Kristin Dizon writes about her own experience “Noonhatting” if anyone is interested in reading.
Personally, I think it is a neat idea although I am not sure I would want to have lunch with complete strangers.
But perhaps there is something to be said for just taking a chance, who knows? But as a fairly private person I would rather rely on my own instincts and means to decide if I want to converse with a stranger on the train, over lunch or at any public spot.
What do you folks think?
And while I was writing this post up it reminded me of another program I heard on NPR a while back.
Couple Finds Good Will in Taste Tests
All Things Considered, June 29, 2007 · A food-loving couple from San Diego has launched a quirky social experiment: They go to restaurants and ask if they can taste other people's food. Surprisingly, most people happily comply — even offering
their own forks!
While I am all for sharing what I eat with other folks if asked (even strangers), the whole offering their own forks to sample what they were having does sound very icky!
Are social networks and networking websites a hot thing?