Making friends in Washington just got easier

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When ten young DC residents made friends through TikTok decided to host an informal get-together at the National Mall in July, more than 200 people showed up. Today, months later, they are the founders of DMV Besties, a friendship-seeking community of young adults of over 700 people.

Why is this important: When COVID-19 sent the world on lockdown, millions of people were forced to reconfigure their friendships and community in a largely virtual environment. DMV Besties is helping fill that void in a city that has experienced a decade of population growth and is also recovering from the ongoing pandemic.

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Zoom out: TikTok and its weirdly precise, interest-based algorithm have helped DMV Besties grow its huge following.

  • TikTok recently announced that it has passed one billion users.

  • Bumble BFF, a backbone of the traditional dating app that now includes a feature for Platonic Friendship Matches, told Axios that in the first three months of 2021, the average time spent on the app has increased. 44% for women and 83% for men worldwide.

  • Additionally, more than 90% of women who started using the app in March of this year have found at least one friendship match, according to the company.

The last: DMV Besties has since expanded to Instagram, Discord and TikTok and the group’s organizers are planning more events.

  • Their second meeting at the Sandlot in Georgetown drew a few hundred people and a few local vendors.

  • The Discord includes subchannels for people in their 30s, people from DMV suburbs, and college students. Members organized board game evenings and weekly dinners.

  • The group has already received requests from Michigan, Ohio and South Carolina on replicating its model.

What they say : “Even if you don’t feel comfortable at these big events… you find a home somewhere… because anyone can create a channel or subcategory for their interest group, ”said Sarah Aillon, founding member of the Discord group.

Plus, DMV Besties isn’t just about friendship; group organizers want to partner with more local vendors to attend events or donate funds to nonprofit or self-help organizations.

  • “There is obviously this ongoing conversation of influencers taking their domains and not necessarily handing over anything. We don’t want to do that,” Aillon said. “We want to make sure that we engage appropriately and that we aren’t haggling DC in any way.”

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