Love & Sex

Stupid App of the Day: Banter, Which Brings AOL Chatrooms Circa 1998 to Your Smartphone

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Banter is a messaging app that draws its inspiration from an old-school source: chat rooms. Find your conversational niche in interest-themed streams like "Food and Drink," "Funny Stuff," and "True Detective," or simply "Chat Near Me" with other users in the area. Why start talking to a stranger at a bar with your mouth, lungs, and vocal cords — all of which, conveniently, the human body comes equipped with — when you could hunch over your phone like a weirdo and message the same person about your extensive Yellow King theory while the ice in your drink melts?

The mobile app, which launched this week, is available for free on iOS and Android. Its first ad seems oddly fixated on user anonymity, despite the fact that you're encouraged to upload photos and build a profile on the network: "Reveal as much or as little about yourself as you choose… Without getting BUSTED!" Ooookay. Was this really a concern? And "busted" for what, exactly?

Though Banter isn't specifically marketed as a dating app, the application seem obvious — it's easy to invite other users to a private chat, and "Flirting" is one of the suggested chat streams when you first join.

Truthfully, I'm torn. This strikes me as pretty dumb, but I have fond memories of spending most of my waking hours in middle school on AIM. (Can we also make away messages and elaborate buddy profiles with emo lyrics and ASCII art a thing again, please?) I downloaded the free app on my Nexus 7 and gave it a test drive. 

Conditions in the Flirting room aren't great, unless you happen to be in the market for "16 yo cock." (Which, for the record, I am not.)


I also tested the waters of the "Cuteness" room, which itself leaves a lot to be desired.

But "Chat Near Me" proved to be the biggest (and most amusing) disappointment of all, considering Banter apparently mistook my Dumbo, Brooklyn location for Elgin, Texas. (Banter is based in Austin.)

Come on, Pizza Hut customers. Why won't any of you get your flirt on?

Again, the app only launched a few days ago (and I also tried it out before lunchtime on a weekday), so your mileage may vary. But still: Banter at your own risk.

[h/t The Daily Dot]

Images via Google Play.