Online Dating and the Missed Opportunity

Online Dating and the Missed Opportunity

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

App dating is a crap shoot, to be sure. We have friends who have been using the dating apps for years, to no avail, despite the number of apps available and the number of people using them. As of 2017, Tinder alone had over 100M downloads  and 57 million monthly active users (both free and paid).

So where’s the disconnect, literally?

In our opinion, expectations and preconceptions could be part of it. Too much surface information and not enough commonality might be part of it, too. Our friends who use the apps and potentially initially ‘meet’ someone immediately hit LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram et al to cross reference.

Again, more surface information which is, again, no replacement for a real-world interaction.

In all fairness, when a family member moved to NYC a couple of year back, his chief challenge was dating. We asked him why he wasn’t doing what everyone else was and using Tinder. He did. But he was a newbie. No cross referencing. Just went and met her. Seemingly just in time. She was one of the first – and definitely the last – woman he met on the app, and she had decided to give up on it.  He talked her into meeting him. We attended their wedding earlier this month.

Let’s do the math: Everyone is on social in some form or another, be it Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Periscope, DLive, Twitch, so there is no shortage of ways to connect with people. And develop an online persona. On YouTube, Periscope, DLive and Twitch, people gravitate to channels of interest- especially during live broadcasts, where the audience participates via live chat and DMs.

Meeting IRL

We recently attended a gathering of people who participate in an online video broadcast channel – one which has nothing to do with dating – who decided to meet, flying in from all over the country. Maybe 30 or so people attended, several of whom were married – to each other – and many whose spouses did not attend. Although there are thousands of people who participate in the channel – some more actively than others – what we found interesting is that two of the couples present had met through the channel, through common interests, which had a been a very effective way of meeting a significant other before participatory activities were usurped by swiping left or right.

We’re not aware of any statistics on the number of couples who meet and even marry, thanks to the video broadcast and even gaming channels, despite the fact that meeting a significant other that way makes sense: it’s called having shared interests.

There was a time when people met by engaging in their interests and going about their lives. Or actually participating in conversations, beyond swiping left or right or posting their activities or what they had for dinner to Instagram.

Then again, our friends who participate in app dating insist that it’s a numbers game. Could be that or the apotheosis of Einstein’s definition of insanity.

The Lonely Planet

Despite the ubiquity of social channels, Vice recently reported that Millennials are officially the loneliest generation. “Even more worryingly, a quarter of millennials say that they have no acquaintances, 22 percent say that have no close friends, and 30 percent have no best friends. The research also delved into the reasoning behind this situation — respondents talked about the difficulties they faced making friends, which ranged from shyness to a lack of hobbies and interests that can facilitate friendships. Over a quarter (27 percent) even said that they “didn’t need friends.”

Scott Heiferman founded Meetup post 9/11 when he saw that, while people were spending a lot of time online, what was missing was the human element – the need for actual rather than virtual human contact. The company was acquired by the We Company, nee WeWork.

Instagram has certainly risen in popularity, and emojis are ubiquitous, and certainly plentiful. But pictures don’t replace human interaction any more than emojis are a replacement for conversation or the written word. We’ve gotten lazy. As a result, we’ve gotten isolated and it seems, lonely.

Video Killed App Dating’s Star?

Video broadcast may very well be the future of social – and dating – especially if there are physical gatherings involved. Another reason why this may be a much more effective channel for socializing/dating: on the apps, judgements are made by way of visuals/photos, and a few descriptives – and people will lie: about age, appearance, interests, and geography, to name but a few points. Another problem: everyone walks around with a checklist in his or her head: an idealized concept of what that perfect mate needs to be, and the algorithm can certainly work it out, right? Note to self: there’s no such thing as perfect – only perfect for you.

In the broadcast video channels, people communicate by either broadcasting directly, being a guest of a broadcaster or most frequently, by participating in the scrolling chat. Interactions uber preconceptions. No pictures or photos in the majority of cases.

And lest we forget, love is blind. Onward and forward.

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