Even though the name of the site hasn’t changed, girls as well as guys can now sign up for the service free of charge. Not sure what made them go in another direction, but turns out the site will NOT be doing stuff like posting on users’ walls and the like (in order to, as they originally aimed, boost one’s dateability and appeal in the eyes of prospective interests).
Here’s the twist- Cloud Girlfriend’s new mission is summed up pretty well in one of the changing taglines on its homepage: “Cloud flirting. Practice here.” Shy of actually signing up for an account and putting it to the firsthand test (sorry! haha), what I’ve gleaned from articles is that it’s basically a romantic fantasy world. You know how you create an avatar of yourself if you’re playing a video game or Wii? You do the same thing here except the avatar is idealized to your heart’s content-your ideal physique, looks, dream job, everything. The site then matches you up with someone whose idealized self is compatible with your fake self. It’s the beginning of a beautiful faux-mance!
With Cloud Girlfriend’s updates, the good news is that now you no longer have to worry that the gushy and overly attentive posts on your crush’s wall were in part fabricated by him or her. The bad news? I just don’t see how engaging in romantic fantasy is going to help a shy person get better at real relationships, as the site’s founders are touting. Even if two users form a true connection despite the walls they’ve created with false personas, they still have to let down all their hangups and insecurities. It’s hard enough to do that in real life!
And I have to admit, even though I thought the original premise was kind of weird, it was certainly original. (This just seems like a dating version of a Facebook app!) But hey- you never know.
Readers: What do you think? Does interacting with others under avatars help you beyond the game-playing role itself?