“Friends” are not really “friends” in many social network circles, Ryan Stout believes. Thus the reason he launched SayHello (www.sayhello.io), a forum that helps people make new friends by pairing them through technology that incorporates data from Facebook pages to determine common interests.
“I think the main problem with social networking right now is that it actually stops us from meeting new people. After all, we can only really maintain so many actual friendships,” Stout said. “Typically, people you interact with on many social media sites don’t form into real relationships.
“While meeting people who are different than you is good to open you up to new points of view, with SayHello we are focused on introducing users to compatible people,” Stout added. “When you meet someone who shows common interests and beliefs, there is a better chance that will develop into a real and lasting friendship.”
To sign up, individuals log in through their Facebook account. Then, within minutes, you are paired with others you can talk to based on SayHello’s innovative compatibility algorithm. SayHello users can chat via text or video.
“There are 1.15 billion people on Facebook, but SayHello increases the probability of pairing you with people you share common interests with,” Stout said. “Our Facebook timelines reveal a lot about us. You can easily determine someone’s interests by simply looking at what they post on Facebook. SayHello determines your interests are by processing what you post online.”
SayHello’s algorithm creates a compatibility score by considering aspects like education, writing style, grammatical structure, word frequency and word complexity that estimate educational background and intellect type. Age and location are other factors that shape the compatibility scores.
To effectively match similar personalities, SayHello’s technology uses linguistic clues. For example, extroverts tend to use personal pronouns more than introverts. To uncover these clues, SayHello’s team incorporates information from extensive personality surveys and Facebook data.
SayHello’s system even predicts a person’s political and religious beliefs.
“Many people on Facebook pass up the opportunity to reveal their political and religious affiliations. While Facebook gives you a spot to post this information, many people do not have political and religious beliefs listed,” Stout said. “By processing the data of those who choose to have this area filled out, a careful statistical analysis helps us make these predictions on those who have not listed their political or religious associations.
“We believe this is important because, for a lot of people, politics and/or religion are important factors in forming friendships,” Stout added.
SayHello will gradually add features to further enhance its objective of fostering new friendships. Stout believes that these will be relationships that will be lasting because of the audio and video interaction, and, of course, the compatibility.
“It can be difficult to talk to someone you don’t know, but when you are paired with someone based on compatibility scores, you know that you share common interests, and that makes it easier to initiate conversation,” Stout said. “Have you ever talked to someone on a plane, or at your favorite coffee shop? Those interactions are natural, and SayHello makes it even more comfortable because you already know you will be talking to a like-minded person.”