Twitter dating for tech-savvy singles

Hundreds of singles attended the first Flitter parties across Canada last week in the latest dating game which is a play on words of the microblogging site Twitter and flirting.

Each guest wore a white sticker with a number and gazed closely at their iPhones and Blackberrys in a dimly lit room in Toronto, their thumbs tapping away at their mobile devices on Twitter.

They were Flittering and trying to catch the attention of other tweeters who were flying solo on the eve of Valentine’s Day.

“#129, you’re so fine, but #152, you’re hot too. Man oh man, what will #72 do?” tweeted one guest as the comment showed up on a giant projector screen set up inside the venue.

Will Lam, a 27-year old banking professional and Twitter fanatic, attended the event because he was interested in seeing how Flitter worked.

“I was just wondering how they would leverage Twitter and facilitate interaction between people,” said Lam, who found the tweeting to be awkward and distracting in his attempts to strike up conversations with women.

“I actually tweeted #19 was really cute, but I can’t even find her anymore,” he said.

But Halley Trusler, a 23-year old event co-ordinator who recently moved to Toronto, found Flittering to be a great way to meet people.

“It allows people who are a little more shy to put themselves out there,” she said.

Trusler received plenty of tweets offering to buy her drinks and revealed she may have someone in mind by the end of the night.

The tweeter can choose to sign off with his, or her, assigned number or send an anonymous message or compliment. The recipient can respond and meet the tweeter if interested, or just read the anonymous compliment and move on.

All senders must end the tweet with the word “Flitterme.”

Justin Parfitt, founder and CEO of Fastlife, the Canadian-based dating service provider, originated Flitter singles events in Australia and introduced them to North America.

He thought there must be some way of getting people to interact using work devices, such as their Blackberrys or iPhones, to make people feel social as oppose to anti-social.

The Flitter parties, which were also held in Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal, were advertised on the Internet.


Hybrid recall

The move by the Japanese auto giant will affect the latest model of the Prius, a car beloved of Hollywood stars and environmentalists, following scores of complaints about brake malfunctions.

The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said the recall, which would repair a software program for the anti-lock braking system designed to prevent skidding, is expected to affect some 270,000 vehicles in Japan and the United States alone.

“The company has notified its dealers in Japan that it would recall all the (new model Prius) vehicles sold in the country,” the mass-circulation paper said, without giving a source.

“The company will also repair the software free of charge in the United States and other countries in a similar manner,” Yomiuri said, adding that the company would make an official announcement this week.

The Nikkei business daily said Toyota would also repair about 30,000 vehicles sold in Europe, China, Australia, Middle East and other areas.

Toyota, which has had to recall around eight million cars around the world because of sticky accelerator pedals, has sold more than 300,000 of the latest Prius in 60 countries and territories since the new model rolled out in May.

Representatives of Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, were not immediately available to confirm the reports.

The Prius, which combines a petrol combustion engine with a battery-powered electric motor, is Toyota’s flagship hybrid car and key to its efforts to stay in pole position in fuel-efficient vehicles.

Toyota, which dethroned General Motors in 2008 as the world’s biggest automaker, produced 530,000 hybrids in 2009, spanning 15 models from sport utility vehicles to sedans, mini-vans and the luxury Lexus series.

The Prius braking problems have come on top of trouble with unintended acceleration with Toyota cars.

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