A year ago I wasn’t so much a technophobe as a technomoron, a few steps away from a bean can and string. My computer was my boyfriend’s hand-me-down, an unwieldy beast from the late 90s. My mobile phone could have been in a museum, only tolerated ‘in case the car breaks down’. I couldn’t even text. If someone had told me I’d be launching a new social network I would have laughed in their face, and any other body part they cared to show me.
But there’s a certain power, as well as bliss, in ignorance. If you don’t know what you’re letting yourself in for, there’s no fear to put you off. Several months later, you wake up at 4am silently screaming: ‘What the **** am I doing? I don’t know what I’m doing! Why am I doing this?’ But by then it’s too late. Money and time have been invested. Other people have been roped in. You’ve got a face to save.
It was listening to a radio program on the BBC’s Woman’s Hour that gave me the idea for Invite For A Bite. A group of women were talking about traveling alone. Although they loved it, they said the one thing they hated was eating alone. I was in the kitchen poking at my teabag when the thought pinged in my brain: ‘Wouldn’t it be great if there was a website where women who didn’t want to eat alone could hook up with one another and eat together?’
I got very excited thinking about how much I’d love to use it. How I could be anywhere in the world and at the drop of a hat (or a quick click) I’d have a friendly face to chat to. I scoured the internet, but couldn’t find the site I was imagining, so – blissfully and powerfully ignorant of the work involved – I decided to create it. With lots of ideas but a technical skill set hovering above zero, I enlisted the help of two friends, web developer George Farron and web designer Kayleigh Witts-Thomas.
As we worked on the site other ideas pinged into my brain. I thought, you know what, I’d love to use this site at home too. I’d like to meet people who live near me, as well as those traveling through. And maybe – what the heck! – to do stuff together that doesn’t always involve eating. Meet people to eat with, chat, have fun, wherever I am in the world.
Now the 4am screaming has stopped. I’m no longer a technomoron, but a technolover. I love how it’s enabled me to create the site I wanted to join. I hope you like it too and we can meet one day – online or offline – at home or away!
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