Ever wanted to join one of those awesome-looking float parties on Newport Harbor, or get in on a private concert at someone’s home (or mansion)? Try downloading the free YotMe app, which gives users access to (and a way to plan and promote) private parties in their local community.
Developer and Newport resident Barry Hinckley says his aim is less about setting up a virtual velvet-rope experience as it is connecting people socially — and maybe even doing some good in the process. If you’re in the boating world, you likely recognize Hinckley’s last name — the 50-year-old is a member of the family behind famed Rhode Island boatbuilders Hinckley Yachts.
The YotMe app name is partly a pun based on Hinckley’s lineage, but “yot” actually is an old-fashioned word for “uniting closely.” Hinckley said the inspiration for the app came during a stretch where he was living solo in London and having trouble establishing a social life outside of work. He views the app as a way to build connectedness in communities, and also sees potential for the app to be used to promote social causes and fundraising through events.
Once you install the app on your mobile device and create a profile, you’ll get notices of parties happening in Rhode Island and elsewhere, including Boston — one of the first test sites for the app, along with Charleston, S.C. — Providence, and Newport (some of the latter set up by Hinckley himself). Yacht outings, concerts, wine dinners, garden parties, and beach cookouts are among the YotMe events held over the past few months.
Party organizers set the rules for their events, and have discretion over who attends. You won’t get into them all, but YotMe is a fun way to see what’s happening in your town, potentially connect with new people who are open to new experiences with (relative or complete) strangers, and perhaps even organize your own event and invite others to attend. Most events are free, although you may be asked to bring a bottle of wine — or a few bucks for the band.