The Coronavirus, technology and social media influencers like Kim Kardashian have transformed our view of dating. So, what exactly is the future of dating?
Technology has transformed the way we meet people and date. From the early days of the internet when chatrooms were rife to today where the swiping culture made famous by Tinder dominates our fast dating culture.
Now, the Coronavirus has forced people to adapt to new rules and regulations. While these are keeping people indoors, singles aren’t just meeting online. They are hosting virtual dates on Dating Apps like Bumble or video chat services like Zoom and FaceTime.
Several dating apps expressed their anticipation of this trend to carry over after the pandemic ends creating a sudden shift in dating habits and accelerating to change we just dreamed about .
Actually you might think dating is hard enough even in the best of times. Now, with all the extra government rules and social distancing guidelines because of a highly contagious virus with no vaccine, the search for love would be the last thing on people’s mind. But dating apps have never been more popular. Singles globally are turning to dating apps in record numbers.
The Coronavirus has been good for most business in the dating industry when it comes to some numbers. By the end of March and in April, Tinder recorded more than 3 billion Swipes on the platform, and conversations soared by 10–30%, the highest level of activities per day in the app’s history. Dating.com stated that global online dating went up 82% in March this year. Millionaire dating app Luxy announced that their sign-ups have increased by 40–50% during early April and Bumble saw a 26% increase in the number of messages sent on its platform.
But let’s take a step back. Not only the current development during the short pandemic time has changed dating. It were celebrities and influencers who have paved the way placing online dating in the spotlight. Do you remember the rise of fame of the Kardashians?
Now Kim Kardashian has over 170 Million followers on Instagram! Then just look at Kim’s sister Kylie Jenner, who is now the world’s youngest billionaire ever! In just a few years they have become one of the world’s most influential people.
So, when the Kardashians were constantly showing off their ever-changing dating partners, this had a huge impact on society. It’s almost become the new ‘in’ lifestyle choice to have this many dating partners…
The effect can be seen most notably in today’s youth. Instead of building up courage to ask someone out or asking for their phone number, kids today are DMing each other on Instagram to flirt and arrange a date.
The youth are almost using their social accounts as a glorified dating profile where looks matter most and personality takes a back seat.
This fast dating culture, where there is a perceived endless amount of options results in everyone being dispensable. Therefore the focus becomes on short-term relationships. There is always the thought that someone better else is just a swipe or message away. This is just like fast fashion where we constantly want the latest clothes, with disregard for the mountains of waste created.
Few of us want to put the effort in to figure out how to wear the same pieces year after year and nor do we want to take the effort to truly woo someone, when we can quickly meet lots of people for much lesser effort.
Humans constantly are looking for new ways to do things and as a result technology hasn’t stopped with just fast dating and quick swipes. AI and professionals are hacking dating since many years already. Did you know you could have been talking to a robot the whole time?
There is a service called ViDA Select (Virtual Dating Assistant) where professionals take over all the small talk on apps to secure you the date without you even lifting a finger! The professionals get a commission for every date they secure you without the other party ever finding out.
But it isn’t illogical to think soon this will all be done by Artificial Intelligence… Maybe the first time the match speaks to a real person will be on that first date!?
On the other hand, AI plays already a crucial role in the dating industry. There is Viola.ai whose technology claims to be the lifelong love advisor on our side. Constantly gathering data about ourselves, analyzing it. We would find the perfect partner, having the most suitable location for the first date and would know much more preference about our partner, so we can come up with the perfect gifts. Besides that scenario, there are other AI components already in life use. Do you know that Dating App Prospr uses AI technology to verify the pictures its users?
The Coronavirus might just have pressured dating companies to take the next steps faster. While most of them announced within the first week of the lockdown their implementation of video chats, such behavior will just be the beginning.
CEO of a newly launched dating app Quarantine Together says that despite the pandemic will sooner or later come to an end, “the behavior that singles have adopted by now when hosting a virtual date will stay”.
My friend Liz Z. of New York, and a proud Luxy Dating App user told me: “I already had virtual dates with 3 different people on Luxy’s Video Chat FaceMe. While the first time it took me some minutes to get used to it, I love it by now. There are no questions anymore what usually make me nervous like is the impression I have the same as in a real conversation? How are we splitting the check? Does he want to kiss me after the date? Now, I can just focus on us to check if there is capability.”
Not only Luxy’s “FaceMe” was rolled out in no time. Recently launched are also Hinge’s “Date from Home”, POF created “Live!” to livestream with matches, and The League offers “League Live”, a tool to speed date once a week with other new users. With pioneer Bumble, who offers video chats already since last year, this trend seems to continue, as spokesperson Priti Joshi confirmed: “The week after Trump declared a national emergency, Video Chats rose by 93% and are staying at this level. The average time in these calls is about 30 minutes right now”.
So which development comes after the pandemic? If the Coronavirus had one good thing it’s to lower the barriers for online communication. Not only people in their 20s but also singles in their 40s confirmed to find it much easier now to take the chat on a dating app to the next level on FaceTime or others.
Head of PR at Luxy, Raffael Krause expressed in an interview of 2019 that virtual reality could be widely implemented into dating within the next 20 years. He predicts “Virtual Dates, where all of your five senses get stimulated at once to create a true virtual reality where you actually can hold someone’s hand or steal a kiss, before you meet your date in the actual real world.” This seems no longer just to be an illusion. Maybe we’ll all be wearing headsets dating virtually from our bedrooms. Or maybe a Kardashian will promote a new app and we’ll all be addicted to a dating app controlled by an AI based on the clothes (or lack of) we like to wear.
Whatever will happen, we should not forget that change in technology happens through many factors and not always is an improvement for humanity.