“The Love App” by Lauren Collins, The New Yorker, November 28, 2013.
(To understand this posting, forget “Between” as a preposition and think of it as a noun or verb.)
Korea is way ahead of us in Internet use and trends, so what they are doing today, we are likely to do tomorrow. Ninety-eight percent of South Korean households have access to broadband and 68% use cell phones, far above that of the United States.
A hot, new social website, Between, draws 800,000,000 messages per month. Rather than trying to connect vast numbers of friends, the site is meant for couples to privately share messages, photos, or any digital mementos. Its primary feature is a Memory Box where they can place notes and photos of keepsakes that once ended up in the back of bureau drawers and now tend to disperse—and get lost—among social networks and email accounts. As you would expect, you can have only one contact on Between.
Between has become so widely used, the word has also become the verb in an infinitive. A boy who once would ask his girl to go steady, now asks, “Do you want to Between?” In a popular Korean song, a boy suggests, “We can take photo-booth pictures in Myeong-dong [a Seoul shopping area] / rest, eat dinner / and add another memory to Between.”
But what happens when the relationship ends, as most eventually do? Originally, the account could be permanently deleted with just one click, but Between received an average of 300 restoration requests per day from “dramatic deleters.” Between now gives a grace period of 30 days where the account is hidden but restorable. The procedure is explained in a help note: “How to: Disconnect & reconnect your relationship.” Have relationships really become that simple? In your dreams!
You can see their website at http://between.us/en/ but beware—it is gaggingly schmaltzy for those of us well past adolescent crushes.